Join me Sunday, May 11th for the Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight featuring Tammy Wynette.  The Country Classic Show kicks off at 9 a.m.

Tammy Wynette grew up in a rural household in the south just like her country sisters, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn.  Tammy Wynette, born Virgina Wynette Pugh in Mississippi on May 5, 1942, had big dreams.

She married Euple Byrd a month before she graduated from high school in 1959. He moved the family from place to place before settling in Memphis, Tennessee.  Tammy went to beauticians school and even did a stint as a barmaid and singer. She and her husband divorced in 1965.  She was 23 by then and the mother of three, working at a beauty salon and singing on local TV while living in government housing and making $45 dollars a week.

That was the early years, but life changed for Wynette.  She went on to become a country music icon.  A singer, songwriter, one of country music's best known artists and biggest selling female singer.  She was called the First Lady of Country Music, and her best known song was Stand by Your Man.  That song became one of the best selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music.

Tammy's marriage  to fellow country singer George Jones in 1969 created a country music couple.  They recorded several albums and singles that hit the charts throughout the 1970's and early 1980's.  Though their marriage ended in 1975, they continued to record sporadically over the next two decades.

Later in life, Tammy had complications from earlier botched stomach surgeries.  She took pain killing medicine for the balance of her life.  After years of medical problems, numerous hospitalizations, several major operations and addiction to pain medications, she died in her sleep on April 6, 1998 at age 55.  Her doctor said she died of a blood clot in her lung.

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