August 5, 2014; West Allis, WI, USA; Aretha Franklin, the \"Queen of Soul,\" performs at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

St. Louis Singer Holds Special Connection to Late Aretha Franklin

August 17, 2018 - 8:22 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Not many can say they had Aretha Franklin to their house for breakfast, but St. Louis singer Denise Thimes can. 

Thimes says her father, Lou Fatha Thimes, a radio legend who played the blues, had built connections to record companies and often brought Aretha to town and she came their house to eat.

“I’ve never had such a hard time dealing with the death of a celebrity because she wasn’t just that to me. She was a sister, she was someone I knew and I was blessed to know and blessed to sing at her birthday party,” she says.

Aretha called Denise in 2013 to ask her to sing for her 71st birthday party in New York, a phone call and a performance she'll never forget.  Aretha Franklin last performed in St. Louis at the grand reopening of the then-Peabody Opera House in 2011. 

Thimes says Aretha's death is especially difficult because same disease, pancreatic cancer took her mother's life.