NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country music legend Stonewall Jackson died early Saturday at the age of 89 after a long battle with vascular dementia, Grand Ole Opry officials confirmed.
Jackson, who holds the distinction of recording the first “live” album ever recorded at Nashville’s storied Ryman Auditorium, had been an Opry member since Nov. 3, 1956, making his 65-year tenure the longest of any other current member, WKRN reported.
Saturday’s Opry was dedicated to Jackson’s memory, the TV station reported.
Best known for his No. 1 hits “Waterloo” and “A Wound Time Can’t Erase,” the classic country performer’s career debuted in 1958 with the single “Life to Go,” penned by a young George Jones, The Tennessean reported.
According to his biography, Jackson was named after Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and traded his bike for a guitar at the age of 10, launching his lifelong profession, the newspaper reported.
Born on Nov. 6, 1932, in Tabor City, North Carolina, Jackson was raised on a south Georgia farm and relocated to Nashville in 1956, after serving in the U.S. Navy.
According to the Opry, Jackson worked in shipping for the institution before his career took off, including shifts where he mailed souvenir books from the basement of the National Life building, The Tennessean reported.
Jackson was preceded in death by his wife and business manager, Juanita Wair Jackson, who died in 2019. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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