Pride was 86-years-old at the time of his passing, losing his battle against the coronavirus on December 12. Just one month before his passing, Pride performed at the CMA Awards in Nashville on November 11. During the award ceremony, Pride performed “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” one of his greatest hits. He was also awarded the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.
Pride left behind his loving wife, Rozene, after more than 60 years of marriage. Yesterday (Monday) would have been the couple’s 64th wedding anniversary, a milestone rarely seen these days.
Pride had not yet ventured into his country music career path when he first met Rozene. In fact, Pride had another career going as a major league baseball player. He was playing Negro League Baseball for the Memphis Red Sox at the time of their first encounter. Rozene, a cosmetologist at the time, was a big fan of professional baseball and meeting Pride during his sports career was a home run. After a whirlwind romance the couple married on December 28, 1956.
Charley Pride’s Wife, Rozene, Becomes His Manager
Soon after their marriage, Rozene assumed the role of Pride’s business manager. After his stint in the Army, Pride and his bride took residence in Helena, Montana. The singer started his country music career modestly, performing in small venues like local bars.
While his heart was still in attempting a career in Major League Baseball, he eventually moved on to country music full time. It would be some time before he found true musical success, but Rozene was there every step of the way.
Much as his music success did, Pride’s family grew bigger. He and Rozene had a daughter and two sons together and would later relocate to Dallas, Texas. In a 2017 interview with Dallas Morning News, Pride shares the reason for relocating his family to Texas.
“I grew up in a segregated society, and I didn’t want to subject my three kids to that,” he says. “We picked out what we thought was the best place for the kids and also for traveling around the world, and you couldn’t find a better place for that than Dallas.”
H/T: The Boot