Tammy Wynette, one of country music’s best-known artists and biggest-selling female singers just had her stage name restored to her grave, after the name on the crypt was changed to Virginia W. Richardson in 2012, 14 years after the icon’s 1998 death. Wynette’s name was changed after her children and the children of her husband, record producer and owner of the rights to Wynette’s music George Richey, had attempted to contest the sale of their parents’ intellectual property a few months before Richey’s 2010 death.
Wynette’s four daughters were advised by their stepsister, attorney Deirdre Richardson Hale, that changing Wynette’s stage name to her given name on the grave would be necessary for legal reasons, though temporary. No battle over the rights to Wynette’s catalog ever occurred, and Hale had the Wynette name restored. Wynette’s daughter Jackie Daly stated that she thinks Hale felt guilt prompted by a Facebook fan page made to protest the inscription on the crypt, and to restore the Tammy Wynette name.
Wynette’s best-known song, Stand By Your Man:
Wynette’s daughters were initially seeking a court order to have the name change reversed, and were even raising money to have the body moved to a different site. Though with Hale’s change of heart, no move was necessary.
Wynette was called the “First Lady of Country Music”, and several of her songs of her songs dealt with themes of loneliness, isolation, divorce, depression and the difficulties of relationships. Wynette married country legend George Jones in 1969, and became a country music duo, akin to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. The two recorded a slew of singles in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Wynette had numerous health problems, and had at least 26 major surgeries since the 1970’s. She had pain taking a high amount of pain medicine over the years, and died of a pulmonary embolism on her couch on April 6, 1998, at age 55.
A representative of Woodland Memorial Park in Nashville said that the name could be changed on the crypt by Friday afternoon.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.