On Saturday (January 7), the country music community went into mourning after learning that Alan Jackson‘s beloved mother, Ruth, had passed away.
Alan’s fans got the chance to know “Mama Ruth” well over the years. She served as a major source of inspiration in his songs, such as his Top 10 country hit “Home.” She was also a frequent presence at many of her son’s performances, awards shows, and other events.
Alan’s mother also helped inspire a couple of his albums, including his gospel collection Precious Memories and his Christmas album, Let It Be Christmas. As it became clear to fans just how much Mama Ruth meant to Alan, they ended up falling in love with her too.
Mama Ruth was 86 when she passed away at her home in Newnan, Georgia. She was laid to rest at the Oak Hill Cemetery on Thursday (January 12) after the conclusion of a funeral service at the Central Baptist Church in Newnan. According to the Newnan Times-Herald, hundreds of people turned out to to honor Mama Ruth and share their sympathies with her family.
17 years prior, Alan and his four sisters said goodbye to their father, Joseph Eugene “Daddy Gene” Jackson, when he passed away. Following his father’s death, Alan wrote a song to honor him. That song was “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” which became a number one hit for Alan following its release in 2002.
Alan also wrote a special song titled “Where Her Heart Has Always Been” to pay tribute to Mama Ruth following her death. He wrote the song just one day prior to her funeral, where he performed it in front of the hundreds of people there. Following his performance, he joined his sisters in singing the hymn “I Want to Stroll Over Heaven with You.”
While he’s performed at many somber occasions, including George Jones‘ funeral, Alan said that singing at Mama Ruth’s service was “the toughest gig yet.”
In addition to singing, Jackson had some sweet words to share about Mama Ruth during her funeral service. He spoke of how she and Daddy Gene raised him and his sisters, and how they stood as a perfect example of true love.
“We look back and wonder how they raised such good kids,” he said. “They were just good people who knew how to do the right thing. It’s not about money or your career. It’s how you lived your life. They’re good people, and that’s what trickled down to all of us.”
Just from knowing Alan, it’s obvious that Mama Ruth and Daddy Gene raised their children right. We’ll be keeping them all in our prayers during this sad time.