NEDERLAND, Texas — Nationwide, people are mourning the loss of a Country Music Hall of Famer. A Nederland man who played alongside her is remembering the time they spent together.
Loretta Lynn died on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at her home in Tennessee. She was 90 years old.
Lynn had been described as a country queen. Her death hit area fiddler David Varnado especially hard.
"My heart hurts," Varnado said. "RIP Loretta. The world just lost a wonderful lady."
Varnado was born in Port Arthur, but now lives in Nederland. He has played with some of country music's biggest stars, including Loretta Lynn, according to the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
Varnado thought Lynn treated her band like royalty and treated him like family.
"I was so proud to be in her band as a coal miner," Varnado said.
Varnado described her as a funny person, who wanted to make people laugh all the time. Varnado said Lynn as one of the best bosses he ever had.
"She was a wonderful lady to work for, absolutely the best. Funny, she liked making people laugh and we built a relationship from there. She treated my family and me like one of her own kids," Varnado said.
When Varnado was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, he donated the suit he wore the first time he performed with Lynn.
"I gotta tell you looking at that brings back so many memories. Pulling that jacket out of her closet and on the bus and putting it on and I can still get the same feeling I had before," Varnado said.
Varnado will always cherish working for the world icon, who he says, believed in him as a fiddle player.
Pieces of her work will live on forever.
"We're going to remember Loretta Lynn for the next 30 or 40 more years. The next 100 years. Most people like that don't go away," Varnado said.
Varnado says Lynn made Nashville the country music powerhouse it is today and he is forever grateful she helped him jumpstart his career.
Lynn was the first woman to ever be named entertainer of the year at the genre's two major awards shows, according to the Associated Press.
The first was by the Country Music Association in 1972 and the second was by the Academy of Country Music three years later.
Lynn's husband preceded her in death in 1966, The couple had six children, 17 grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.
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