The death of an icon
Loretta Lynn a world-famous country singer passed away on Tuesday, October 4th at age 90. The singer/songwriter was as famous for her long marriage as she was for her hits. On January 10, 1948, at the age of 15- Loretta Webb married Oliver Vanetta "Doolittle" Lynn and remained with him for 48 years until his death on August 22, 1996.
In the Roanoke Valley residents are sharing their specific memories of Lynn and or her music and I have one of my own. At age 11 in the 6th grade in 1969 it was my first year attending an integrated school. I became friends with a girl named Brenda who introduced me to country music and I would turn my radio back and forth on the AM dial between WTOY the soul station and what is now WSLC Star Country but in the 1960s was WSLS.
Our teacher Mrs. Chittum was teaching the students to play the autoharp and one day as some girls were playing the harp and singing Lynn's hit Woman of the World Brenda began to cry.When I asked what was wrong she told me that although Lynn was her favorite singer she could not bear to hear that one song because it reminded her that another woman had taken her dad away from her mother. For decades each time I heard Woman of the World I thought of Brenda.
Loretta Lynn's legacy in the Roanoke Valley
Lynn is being noted because she was a regular to the Roanoke Valley during the 1960s and 1970s with the WSLS-promoted Salem Rodeo. The Salem Civic Center is remembering the entertainer for the days when she would sing from the back of a truck because no stage was available. WDBJ has reported on something special that Lynn brought to the area which may not be well known.
During those early days of the 1960s and 1970s, Lynn performed for free at the VA. Medical Center in Salem. The last time the icon came to this area was on November 18, 2016, when she performed at the Berglund Center. Loretta Lynn left a lasting legacy for the world as well as residents of Southwest Virginia. She was down to earth despite her superstardom and fans could easily relate to her.