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Tammy Wynette’s Name Stripped From Her Gravestone

March 10, 2012

Tammy Wynette in concert with your blogger in the front row.

I have always felt that the saddest story in the decades of country music has been that of Tammy Wynette.  From her young years, failed marriages, and health problems it seemed there was always one more sad tale to read about when it came to one of the richest and most poignant voices of the golden era of country music.

This week I read the latest–and hopefully–last sad story that will be written about the lady we all knew as Tammy Wynette.  . broke the news Monday (March 5) that the name on Wynette’s tomb at Woodlawn Cross Mausoleum has been changed from “Tammy Wynette” to “Virginia W Richardson.” At the time of her death in 1998, Wynette was married to producer and songwriter George Richey, whose original surname was Richardson.

“I guess I’m curious as to why it’s a story,” she said to during a phone interview conducted shortly after the name-change article was published. “I can tell you simply [the change] was a decision made by her six children for reasons known to us.”

There were so many ‘helpers’ over the years who made decisions for Wynette that were more self-serving for themselves than any meaningful attempt to look after the needs of the singer.  One must keep that in mind now as this latest news is reported.    The last part of this article is the most telling, I think.

Communicating by email, Sheila Richey told she was unaware of what prompted the name change.

“Sadly, I cannot tell you the reasons why my stepdaughter, Deirdre Hale, would have requested Woodlawn to desecrate the resting place of this world-renowned country legend. My late husband, George Richey, had the name her fans knew, Tammy Wynette, placed there after she died in 1998. Over this issue and others, Deirdre and I no longer speak.”

She criticized Wynette’s daughters for having their mother’s body exhumed after they had filed a lawsuit against Richey and Wynette’s doctor, alleging they had contributed to her death. An autopsy determined that the singer died of natural causes.

“I would like to apologize on behalf of my late husband and myself to all of Tammy’s wonderful fans around the world,” Richey concluded. “I’m truly sorry for another stain on ‘The First Lady of Country Music’ brought about by her children.”

“I can’t believe there is still so much acrimony over this poor woman,” said an industry insider who once worked closely with Wynette but who asked to remain anonymous. “Now someone has stripped her of her own celebrity. [Visiting her tomb now] would be like visiting Tony Curtis’ grave and seeing his real name — Bernard Schwartz — on it.”

  1. Joel permalink
    April 28, 2013 4:28 PM

    How dare anybody to do that to her final resting place she will never rest in peace! U will answer to god someday for doing wat u did. Period double period. Thanks for the years tammy wynette and the late george jones may yall rest in peace.

  2. Terri permalink
    April 19, 2012 2:18 AM

    Sadly she did pass so many years ago, but her wonderful voice lives on in her recordings and on the many videos on Yout Tube. Let’s all remember her as she was in life and not dwell on her death. She is with the Lord now in the peace and serenity that so often evaded her in her life on Earth. God bless her spirit, and her daughters too because they are doing as they feel is best – afterall she was their mother.

  3. Alinka permalink
    March 11, 2012 11:07 AM

    oh, she looks so classy! must have been a beautiful and elegant woman

  4. March 10, 2012 5:57 PM

    Hey Skip.

    Tammy died in 1998. There are many parts of her memorial service online at You Tube. I offer one here for you–please check out the others.

  5. March 10, 2012 5:43 PM

    I didn’t know Tammy Wynette died.


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