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Grand Ole Opry Mourns the Loss of Beloved Member Nora Lee Allen

Grand Ole Opry grieves the passing of its beloved member and wife of the lead singer Duane Allen, Norah Lee, who died after a long illness on March 31st, 2024. Nora and Duane were married for almost 55 years.

A hush fell over the Grand Ole Opry this week as news reached Nashville of Nora Lee Allen’s passing. In a heartfelt tribute shared on their X page, the Opry community remembered Nora Lee not just for her talent but for the warmth she brought to the stage.

Nora Lee wasn’t a flashy headliner, but she was the quiet magic behind countless Opry performances. As one of the esteemed Opry Singers, her voice blended seamlessly with others, adding depth and richness to the music.

Beyond her talent, she was a cherished member of the Opry family – the wife of Duane Allen from the legendary Oak Ridge Boys. Her absence leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of those who knew her kindness and heard her sing within the Opry’s hallowed halls.

After a courageous battle with illness, Nora Lee passed away peacefully on a Sunday morning. The news, shared by a heartbroken Duane Allen on social media, offered a glimpse into their enduring love and the tender moments they shared in her final hours.

“This morning, my wife of 54 years and 8 months took her last breath of air on planet Earth.

Norah Lee went to be with Jesus at 7:28 am, Easter morning. She had not been feeling well for some time. Her family all spent the night with her last night at Vanderbilt Hospital. We took time singing with and to her, telling her stories, and loving her every second that God let us share her here on Earth.

Jamie, Dee, and I would like to thank you all for your love and prayers. We have been at her bedside for over nine weeks.

We would like to thank Donna, Ashley, Ginger, GiGi, and Mindy for helping stay some nights with her.

We would like to thank the doctors, nurses, medical workers, and specialty staff who did everything they could to help Norah Lee.

Check my Facebook page later for details on the arrangements.

We hope to have visitation and service at First Baptist Church on Tuesday, April 2, in Hendersonville, Tennessee.”

Wrote Duane Allen on Oak Brigde Boys Official page.
screenshot of Instagram post of the Oak Ridge Boys about the death of Nora Allen
Source: The Oak Ridge Boys’s Instagram

The news was also shared on the Oak Ridge Boys’ official website.

The band shared their grief as well in a post on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter:

“During (Wednesday’s show), we paused to remember a beloved member of our Opry family we lost earlier this week, Norah Lee Allen. For decades, Norah Lee added her voice to Opry performances as one of our background vocalists, our Opry Singers.

“She was also a member of our family as the wife of Duane Allen of Opry group The Oak Ridge Boys,” the post continued. “She will be lovingly remembered by all who knew her and all who knew her voice here at the Grand Ole Opry.”

Two-time GRAMMY award-winning Red Street Records recording artist Jason Crabb also took to Instagram to share the sorrow he felt after hearing the sad news:

Screenshot from Jason Crabb instagram
 Credit: Jason Crabb

Remembering Nora Lee Allen

Norah Lee Allen’s illustrious career illuminated the stages of the Grand Ole Opry for over four decades, leaving an indelible mark with her majestic voice, poise, and unwavering professionalism.

As a background vocalist in the heart of country music’s grandest performances, Norah Lee stood as a cornerstone among a select group of talented singers, harmonizing alongside industry titans.

Hailing from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Norah Lee’s musical journey began at an early age, singing with her sisters in The Stuart Sisters Trio—a cherished family ensemble steeped in gospel tradition.

“Mrs. Allen is a member musical journey began at a young age. She started singing with her sisters in the Stuart Sisters Trio, formed by her father when she was only three years old.

They toured and performed for nearly 17 years. Then, in 1968. She joined The Chuck Wagon Gang. She stayed with the country-gospel outfit for a few years before taking a job at Benson Publishing Group in Nashville.”

According to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

Her innate talent blossomed, leading her to join the acclaimed Chuck Wagon Gang in 1968, where she found her footing in the music industry’s rich tapestry.

In 1969, Norah Lee’s life intertwined with another country music luminary as she married Duane Allen, lead singer of The Oak Ridge Boys. Their partnership became a source of strength and support throughout her storied career.

Norah Lee with Husband Duane Allen
Credit: : Getty Images

Venturing to Nashville in the early 1970s, Norah Lee’s reputation as a vocal virtuoso flourished. From providing background vocals for esteemed artists to her pivotal role at the Grand Ole Opry, her versatility and skill garnered widespread acclaim.

Her journey reached new heights when she became a full-time member of the Opry band in 1980, captivating audiences worldwide with her stirring performances.

As part of The Oak Ridge Boys’ touring entourage, Nora Lee embraced the challenges and joys of life on the road. From late-night bus rides to sold-out concerts, she experienced the exhilaration of sharing her gift with fans across the country.

Beyond her musical talents, Nora Lee was a devoted wife and partner to Duane Allen. Their love story, spanning nearly 55 years of marriage, was a testament to enduring love and unwavering commitment—a bond that inspired those around them.

Despite the demands of her profession, Norah Lee remained rooted in her faith and family values. Her devotion to her husband, children, and grandchildren remained unwavering, serving as a testament to her nurturing spirit and unwavering love.

Throughout her remarkable career, Norah Lee shared the stage with an array of musical luminaries, from country icons like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash to pop sensations like Patti Page. Yet, amidst the glittering lights of fame, she remained grounded, embodying humility and grace in every note she sang.

A memorable performance by Norah Lee:

Duane Allen with Norah Lee Allen & Jamie Allen Martin – Keep Our World Safe

Norah Lee Allen’s legacy transcends the stage, resonating in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to witness her talent and kindness. As a wife, mother, and grandmother, she leaves behind a legacy of love, devotion, and unparalleled professionalism—an enduring testament to the gentle soul and unwavering dedication of a true music legend.

As we celebrate Nora Lee Allen’s remarkable career and legacy, let us remember her not only for her musical prowess but also for the warmth and grace with which she lived her life. May her memory continue to inspire us all to embrace the power of music and the beauty of love.

Nora Lee Allen’s journey:

Birth29 June 1892
Career Start1968
Marriage to Duane Allen1969
Full-time member of the Grand Ole Opry band1980
DeathMarch 31, 2024
Nora Lee Allen Key events date

2024: A Year of Transitions for The Oak Ridge Boys

2024 hasn’t been kind to The Oak Ridge Boys. From the loss of Phyllis Carr in March to Joe Bonsall’s retirement announcement earlier this year, they’ve faced a series of challenges. But through it all, their bond has held strong, a testament to their resilience.

This Easter Sunday brought a double blow to the Oak Ridge Boys family. As they grappled with their own grief, news arrived of Richard Sterban’s wife’s father passing as well. Yet, amidst the darkness, a flicker of hope remains – the belief in a brighter hereafter where loved ones reunite.

Fans are deeply saddened by the passing of Norah Lee. Adding to the year’s transitions, Joe Bonsall, another founding member and lead singer, announced his retirement from touring earlier this year.

Bonsall’s rich baritone and energetic stage presence have been a hallmark of the Oak Ridge Boys for decades.

Despite these challenges, The Oak Ridge Boys remain a force to be reckoned with.

In a testament to their enduring spirit and dedication to their fans, they embarked on their “American Made: Farewell Tour” in 2024. This tour celebrates its 50th anniversary and promises a final chance to see the group perform live.

The Oak Ridge Boys did have a sold-out show on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at the Oxford Performing Arts Center in Alabama. It was part of their Farewell Tour Event.

Screenshot from the Oxford Performing Arts Center
Credit: Oxford Performing Arts Center

While the future of The Oak Ridge Boys beyond this tour remains uncertain, one thing is clear: their music and legacy will continue to resonate with fans for generations to come.

So, if you have the opportunity to catch a show on their farewell tour, don’t miss it! It’s sure to be a memorable celebration of a true American musical institution.

Wrapping Up

As the Grand Ole Opry mourns Nora Lee Allen and stands with The Oak Ridge Boys, the music they created together continues to resonate.

It’s a powerful reminder of the enduring strength of love, community, and the timeless spirit of country music.

Nora Lee’s legacy extends far beyond the stage. Through her music and her kindness, she touched the lives of countless individuals, leaving behind a legacy of love, compassion, and inspiration.

Nora Lee Allen may have left this world, but her spirit lives on through the melodies she shared and the hearts she touched.

As we pay tribute to her extraordinary career and enduring legacy, let us carry forward her legacy with love, gratitude, and reverence. Forever remembered, forever cherished—Nora Lee Allen, a true icon of country music.

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