Funeral arrangements have been set for Grand Ole Opry star Jean Shepard, who passed away on Sunday, September 25 at age 82. Jean became a member of the Opry on November 21, 1955 and last appeared on November 21, 2015 when she became the only female to reach 60 years of Opry membership. In 2011, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame®.
A public visitation will be held on Thursday, September 29 at Hendersonville Funeral Home (353 East Main Street) from Noon – 8p.m. and Friday, September 30 11a.m. – 1p.m. Jean’s celebration of Life service will follow at 1 p.m. The public is invited to visitation and the service.
Media inquiries should be directed to Hendersonville Funeral Home 615.824.3855.
Jean was born Ollie Imogene Shepard in Oklahoma and raised one of ten children in Visalia, California. At age 14 she was spotted by country star Hank Thompson singing and playing bass in the all-girl band she’d formed called the Melody Ranch Girls. Thompson brought her to the attention of Capitol Records and soon the trailblazing Shepard was setting the precedent in country music for a young woman recording and touring on her own rather than as a member of a family act, a duo, or a band’s “girl singer.”
A stint on the Springfield, Missouri Ozark Jubilee was followed by Grand Ole Opry membership in 1955. Her hit duet “A Dear John Letter” with Ferlin Husky was the first post-World War II country record featuring a female vocalist to sell a million copies. Other now-classic releases included “Second Fiddle (To An Old Guitar),” “A Satisfied Mind,” and “Slippin’ Away.”