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Wynette's family upset over tombstone name change

WENN, Monday, March 12, 2012, 9:06am (PDT)
  • Tammy Wynette's children say they are very upset over the decision to change the name on her tombstone.

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    The country singer, who died in 1998, was born Virginia Wynette Pugh, and last year the name on her grave in Tennessee was changed from her stage name to Virginia W Richardson, the title she took when she married George Richey, whose birth name was Richardson.

    Wynette's daughter Georgette Jones-Lennon, from the star's marriage to George Jones, was told about the alteration by her stepsister Deirdre Richardson-Hale and thought it was just a temporary measure. She also believed the change stemmed from a legal dispute with Richey's widow, Sheila, whom he married after Wynette's death.

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    She tells CMT.com, "Deirdre called my sister and relayed a message to her that it would be legally necessary -- just temporarily -- for us to change Mom's name to her maiden name and that (the change) was in regard to things that were going on regarding Sheila, Richey's widow.

    "We did agree, but we wanted Mom's name to be changed temporarily to her maiden name, which we thought was going to be 'Virginia Wynette Pugh.' Of course, as you can see, it was changed to 'Virginia W Richardson,' which was not what we agreed to. ... I won't speak for all of us, but I can say my sisters Tina, Jackie and myself are very upset."

    Sheila Richey has also revealed she is angry about the name change, adding, "Sadly, I cannot tell you the reasons why my stepdaughter, Deirdre, would have requested (cemetery officials) to desecrate the resting place of this world-renowned country legend. My late husband, George Richey, had the name her fans knew, Tammy Wynette, placed there after she died in 1998. Over this issue and others, Deirdre and I no longer speak."

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