Reba McEntire Remembers Her ‘Mama’ in Wake of Loretta Lynn’s Passing: ‘Now They’re Both in Heaven’

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage for NARAS)

Reba McEntire is thinking of both her “mama” and her friend Loretta Lynn as Lynn crosses into “the hollers of heaven.”

The Coal Miner’s Daughter singer passed away today (Oct. 4) at the age of 90. The legendary Country music artist left an indelible mark on fans and fellow stars alike. And as the news of her death became public, thousand of those people paid tribute to her life and career on social media, including Reba.

“Mama and Loretta Lynn were four years apart, Mama being the oldest,” she wrote on Instagram. “They always reminded me a lot of each other. Strong women, who loved their children and were fiercely loyal.”

Reba’s mother, Jacqueline McEntire, died on March 16, 2020. The 93-year-old had been battling cancer.

“Now they’re both in Heaven getting to visit and talk about how they were raised, how different country music is now from what it was when they were young. Sure makes me feel good that Mama went first so she could welcome Loretta into the hollers of heaven!” she continued.

“I always did and I always will love Loretta. She was always so nice to me,” added Reba. “I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers.”

Loretta Lynn Helped Bring Women to Country Music

When Loretta Lynn broke into the industry in the 1960s, paving the way for female singers was her main priority. At the time, there were very few women in Country music. Aside from Lynn, her close friends, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton were the only notable stars.

So when Lynn signed a deal with Decca Records in 1961, she made it her mission to bring more female voices into the industry. And her work opened the door for women just like Reba.

She also focused her lyrics on problems that real women were facing in the era with Don’t Come Home A’Drinking and You Aint Woman Enough—and that brought millions of new fans to the genre.

“It was what I wanted to hear and what I knew other women wanted to hear, too,” Lynn told the AP in 2016. “I didn’t write for the men; I wrote for us women. And the men loved it, too.”

Loretta Lynn peacefully passed away this morning at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN, according to her family. The cause of death has not been revealed, but the singer had suffered a stroke in 2017 and had been struggling to recover.