17 July 2012

Kitty Wells, 30 Aug. 1919-16 July 2012

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for the news that Kitty Wells, 'Queen of Country Music', died peacefully yesterday morning at the age of 92, at home and among her family, following complications from a stroke.

Born Ellen Muriel Deason, she took the stage name 'Kitty Wells' when singing with her husband Johnnie Wright. He and Jack Anglin formed the duo 'Johnnie and Jack', whose fiddlers included Paul Warren (best known for his work with Flatt & Scruggs). Many of the songs associated with them and with Kitty became staple repertoire with bluegrass bands. In 1952 Kitty was the first female singer to reach #1 in the country charts, with 'It wasn't God who made honky tonk angels'; in the following two decades, she had 28 Top Ten country singles.

Her funeral will be held on Friday at 1.00 p.m. at the Church of Christ, Hendersonville, TN, followed by burial in Spring Hill cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Goodpasture Christian School, c/o Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Scholarship Fund.

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