Tammy Wynette's daughters want singer's name restored on burial crypt


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Tammy Wynette's daughters want singer's name restored on burial crypt

By Stephen L. Betts. CREATED Feb 28, 2014

Georgette Jones Lennon, the only daughter of country icons Tammy Wynette and George Jones, has joined with Tammy's three other daughters to gain public support in an effort to restore their mother's stage name on her burial crypt two years after it was replaced with the singer's married name, Virginia W. Richardson.

Lennon says she and her sisters agreed to a name change after being told it would be temporary, but are not able to reverse the decision because they don't own the burial crypt at Nashville's Woodlawn Memorial Park. She is asking Tammy's fans to join a Facebook page called "A Restoration" Tammy Wynette’s Name and Legacy.

"She worked very hard and long her whole life for that name," Lennon tells The Tennessean. "That’s who she believed she was. That is who she was."

The sisters are currently in talks with an attorney to obtain a court order which would bring back the Tammy Wynette name, Lennon says, with the hope that public support will strengthen their case. In the past, they've been unsuccessful in attempts to pursue legal rights to their mother's legacy, including attempts to regain access to family heirlooms, such as their own baby pictures and their grandmother's butter churn. Tammy's husband at the time of her death, George Richardson, who went by the professional name of George Richey, inherited their mother's home and belongings as well as the rights to her publishing and business enterprises when she passed away in 1998.

The sisters -- and Richey's children -- had expected to have the intellectual property passed on to them, but those rights were sold to a music publishing company shortly before Richey died in 2010. Wynette had reportedly made a handwritten list specifying who would get what personal items, but Richey told estate lawyers he could not find the list.

Tammy Wynette was born Virginia Wynette Pugh, the name she and her sisters thought would be temporarily placed on the crypt. Both Georgette Jones Lennon and her sister Jackie Daly, have penned books which were critical of Richey's treatment of their mother during her turbulent lifetime, which included several illnesses and addiction to painkillers. She died April 6, 1998, at 55 years old.

More information about the Facebook campaign is available here.

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts ("Steve") is a Nashville-based journalist who started his career as a tour guide, karaoke operator and library assistant at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.