Naomi Judd’s Husband Larry Strickland Recalls the Days Leading Up to Her Death

by Jonathan Howard

Naomi Judd’s husband Larry Strickland talked about his late wife at CMT’s Naomi Judd: A River of Time presentation. It was an emotional night honoring one of the legends of country music, but most importantly a wife, mother, and friend.

He talked about a story leading up to her death. She was flying all the way from Vienna, Austria to Nashville. She would be arriving for her Hall of Fame induction. However, she took her life the day before that ceremony.

“I was really scared to death about her flying alone all the way from Vienna back to Nashville cause I knew how fragile she was,” Strickland said on stage. “Well, she made the flight home back to Nashville without any problem.”

It was a night of emotion, remembrance, and celebration. Larry Strickland also talked about Naomi Judd’s knack for striking conversation. Perhaps it was her charm. Maybe something about how she looked at the world.

“Naomi never met a stranger,” Strickland lovingly said. “Much to my displeasure, she would start a conversation with anyone who made eye contact with her, and we would end up standing 10, 20, 30 minutes on a sidewalk while she talked to a complete stranger about their passions and their dog.”

Write that up to her Ashland, KY upbringing, I’d say.

The night was filled with dedications like this. Ashley and Wynonna Judd gave their own tributes and stood next to their mother’s husband and smiled as he recalled the stories. One of those strangers that she sparked a conversation with was mentioned at the ceremony. He was on the flight from Austria to Nashville. The man sent an email to Strickland and detailed the encounter to him.

Larry Strickland Recalls Message he Received About Naomi Judd

During the aftermath of Naomi Judd’s death, Larry Strickland checked his emails. He had a message from a man that was on the flight from Austria to Nashville. He sat next to the country music singer. And, from his impression, Strickland’s characterization of her as never knowing a stranger, was true even on that flight.

The man didn’t know that Naomi was a famous singer. He just met a nice woman on a flight. He detailed to Larry, that the “next 90 minutes we spent in each other’s company was not only entertaining, fascinating and enlightening, but for me at least, thoroughly enjoyable.”

“Obviously, I didn’t know Naomi at all, but I can tell you she spoke highly and warmly of you, and the life you shared together,” the message went on. “Rest assured she loved you and had no qualms telling me, a stranger on a plane, that was so.”

A beautiful and fitting message that encapsulates the wonderful person that Naomi Judd was, and delivered by Larry Strickland – not a dry eye in the Ryman.