Dolly Parton is mourning the loss of her Uncle Bill, who died on Wednesday (04.07.21) at the age of 84.
The ‘9 to 5’ hitmaker has penned a moving tribute to her “beloved” family member, whom she credits with encouraging her to pursue her music career and helping to make her the country icon she is today.
In the letter – which was published on her website – Dolly wrote: “I’ve lost my beloved Uncle Bill Owens. I knew my heart would break when he passed, and it did. I’ll start this eulogy by saying I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there. He was there … there in my young years to encourage me to keep playing my guitar, to keep writing my songs, to keep practicing my singing. And he was there to help build my confidence standing on stage where he was always standing behind me or close beside me with his big ol’ red Gretsch guitar.
“He was there to take me around to all of the local shows, got me my first job on the “Cas Walker Show.” He took me back-&-forth to Nashville through the years, walked up-&-down the streets with me, knocking on doors to get me signed up to labels or publishing companies.
“It’s really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success. But I can tell you for sure that I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot. (sic)”
Dolly went on to say she’ll be “forever grateful” to Bill – whose full name was Billy Earl Owens – for helping her “see [her] dreams come true”.
She added: “I bet a lot of our own relatives don’t even know all of the great things that Uncle Bill did behind the scenes through his life. But the greatest thing he ever did for me was to help me see my dreams come true and for that I will be forever grateful.”
And the ‘Jolene’ hitmaker concluded her post by reaching out to Bill’s family, including his wife Sandy and their children.
She said: “I’m sure that Uncle Bill’s friends, fans, his wife Sandy, his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids will join me when I say that we will always love you. Rest in peace, Uncle Bill.”