Known as the Grand Lady of the Opry, Jean Shepard left quite the legacy when she passed away on September 25. Almost a year ago, she celebrated her 60th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member and according the The Tennessean, was the only female to reach the six-decade mark.
Her hits included 1953’s “A Dear John Letter”, 1955’s “A Satisfied Mind” and many, many more. She was outspoken about her love of country music and the Grand Ole Opry, including today’s country music.
“Sixty years ago, I loved what the Grand Ole Opry stood for,” she said during an interview inside the “Women of Country” dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry House. “I still love what it stands for, but not quite so much. Isn’t it terrible being so truthful?”
Another woman who says it like it is had a close bond with Shepard. Dolly Parton, like many other country artists, was devastated hearing the news of Shepard’s passing, and she shared a sweet video remembering her friend.
“Jeannie Shepard and I go way back. Jeannie was always great,” she says, misty-eyed. “She was great then, she was great now. She was still an active member of the Grand Ole Opry. I loved her unique style. The fact that she could yodel really set her apart from the other girls in the Grand Ole Opry.”
Parton then revealed some Parton family trivia most people probably don’t know. Her brother, Randy, played bass for Shepard, and they loved each other dearly.
“I know she is in the Country Music Hall of Fame. She certainly deserves to be. I was sorry to hear of her passing. She’ll always be loved and remembered. People like Jeannie never die anyway,” Parton said.
We will continue to pray for Shepard and her family. She is survived by her husband, Benny Birchfield, and sons Don Robin Hawkins, Harold Franklin Hawkins II, and Corey Birchfield.
Watch Dolly’s tribute below.