Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jean Shepard has passed away and the Grand Ole Opry Mourns


Ferlin Husky & Jean Shepard 
More than a trailblazer, the Country Music Hall of Fame lady Jean Shepard has passed away at the age of 82.  She was known to be feisty and a real people person.  If there was a wrong, she would help to right it.   She passed away early this morning. 

She was born on November 21, 1933 in Oklahoma.  She came from a large family of nine children. Her story is much like that of many of the old time country stars.  Her parents were poor but they were abundant in love.  Jean found she loved singing and did so in church.

She dared to sing songs about subject matter that was taboo in those times, songs about cheating and breaking up.  She went where no other woman artist had gone before.   One such song was “Act Like a Married Man.”

She put together an all girl band when she was in High School and sang on Saturday mornings at her local radio station not far from Bakersfield after her family had moved west.  She was discovered on a local stage and signed to Capitol Records in 1952.  That really only happened because of label mate Hank Thompson’s belief in her talent. 

Jean Shepard
Jean was asked to join the Grand Ole Opry when she was 22. Her first husband Hawkshaw Hawkins died in the same plane crash that took Patsy Clines life.  Jean was 8 months pregnant with their second child at the time. She did her grieving, pushed past the pain and got back to living so she could raise her 2 baby boys. Marriage and love wasn’t easy for Shepard after the loss of her first husband.  She married her 4th husband Benny Birchfield in 1968 and had a son they named Corey.  She didn’t like today’s country music and she spoke out against it when asked.  She lived her life her way and was always true to herself.  In 2015, the Grand Ole Opry celebrated Shepard’s 60th anniversary as a member.  She is the only female member to date to have lived to see a 60th Anniversary. 
She has also written a book called “Down Through the Years,” in 2014.  Shepard’s passing leaves Benny Birchfield a widower.  She has predeceased her 3 sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  RIP Jean Shepard.  Rest in Peace



Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet. 

 Jean’s Best Noteworthy Songs.

1953:  “A Dear John Letter” Hit #1
1955: “A Satisfied Mind” Hit #4
1964: “Second Fiddle” Hit #5.

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