How Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton Supported Loretta Lynn After a Tragedy on Her Ranch

It’s safe to say Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Loretta Lynn are three of country music’s most prolific artists. They are also all trailblazers in the movement to carve a place for women in the genre. And when Lynn and many others were stricken by tragedy, Parton and McEntire were among those who rallied support for their grieving friend and country colleague.

Loretta Lynn in a gold dress, standing with Reba McEntire in a black dress and smiling at the camera
Loretta Lynn and Reba McEntire | Rick Diamond/WireImage for NARAS

A flood swept away Loretta Lynn’s ranch foreman, Wayne Spears

Severe weather impacted the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee in August 2021. Lynn was “heartbroken” when her longtime ranch foreman and friend, Wayne Spears, died in a flash flood.

Spears was reportedly trying to check on animals and equipment when rising waters caught him. Witnesses saw the longtime employee of Lynn’s ranch clinging to a structure as the water climbed around him. Eventually, the current became too strong for him to hold on and onlookers watched helplessly as the force carried him away.

“There are no words at the ranch today … only tears. Our ranch family is our family. We lost my amazing ranch foreman, Wayne in this devastating flood,” the “Fist City” singer wrote on Facebook. “He took such good care of things here on the ranch for us. He’s one of us and the whole Lynn family is heartbroken. Please pray for his precious family and friends.”

The floods killed 20 people in Humphreys County where Lynn’s ranch is located. It was reportedly the most heavily damaged county in the state.

Reba McEntire joined ‘Loretta Lynn’s Friends: Hometown Rising’ benefit concert after Tennessee floods

In response to the devastation in the county and the loss of Spears, Lynn arranged a benefit concert called Loretta Lynn’s Friends: Hometown Rising.

Among the country stars to join the event to perform was McEntire. The “Fancy” singer thanked the crowd for being there but also told them, “I hope we don’t ever have to go through this again.”

Other big names, like Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Garth Brooks, and Trisha Yearwood, also appeared. The concert, which took place at the Grand Ole Opry House, raised $933,000 in donations and proceeds, per News 4 Nashville.

Dolly Parton raised money for flood victims in Loretta Lynn’s town

Dolly Parton in a light colored dress standing with Loretta Lynn in red
Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn | Ron Davis/Getty Images

Notably, Lynn and Parton both broke into the country scene around the same time in the ’60s and have remained friends since. Lynn sometimes calls Parton her “mountain sister” in shoutouts in interviews and on social media.

After the floods and Spears’ death, Parton didn’t perform at Lynn’s benefit concert, but she did give assistance in another important way. She donated to relief efforts with proceeds from her own Tennessee businesses.

According to the Associated Press, Parton eventually presented $700,000 to the United Way of Humphreys County at Lynn’s recommendation. “I hope that this money can be put to good use to help the people of Middle Tennessee with what they need during their recovery,” the “Jolene” singer said.

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