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Tammy Wynette’s Daughters Want to Return Her Name to Crypt

Tammy Wynette
Michael Putland, Getty Images

Tammy Wynette‘s daughters are asking for the public’s help as they seek to return their famous mother’s stage name to her gravestone.

According to Nashville’s Tennessean, Georgette Jones Lennon, Wynette’s daughter with George Jones, agreed to the name change in 2012. The siblings say they believed it was temporary, but since they don’t own the crypt, they are unable to change it back to the name fans know. They’re asking fans to join a Facebook group called ‘A Restoration: Tammy Wynette’s Name and Legacy.’ The closed group currently has just over 2,500 members.

“She worked very hard and long her whole life for that name,” Lennon tells the newspaper. “That’s who she believed she was. That is who she was.”

Unfortunately for the daughters of the famous singer, the legal drama has been continuing long since her death in 1998. Her home, and other possessions, were left in the care of her fifth husband, George Richardson (known professionally as George Richey). Lennon says Wynette gave her a list before her death detailing what items should go to each child, but Richey claims he lost the list.

Furthermore, rights to her intellectual property were sold to a music publishing company, the Bicycle Music Co., shortly before his death in 2010.

The crypt is owned by lawyer Deirdre Richardson Hale, one of Richey’s daughters, who Lennon claims suggested the name change prior to a planned challenge of the sale of Wynette’s intellectual property. The daughters thought the name would be changed to her maiden name, Virginia Wynette Pugh. It was instead changed to Virginia W. Richardson.

While that legal challenge never occurred, the four daughters claim Richey mishandled their mother’s estate, but they were unable to pursue their allegations.

“The more we looked into it, the more we realized there were plenty of attorneys who would take the case if we could pay them $50,000 to $100,000 up front to pay for their expenses along the way,” Lennon says. “No one was willing to take it on a contingency based on the fact that they found a clause in Mom’s will that said if for some reason Richey becomes elderly and sick and needs some money at some point to care for himself — that if he has no other way to pay for his expenses and care — at that point, he would be able to sell whatever he needed.”

Wynette is currently being held at the Woodlawn Cross Mausoleum, in Nashville, Tenn., where several other stars, including George Jones, Eddy Arnold, Johnny Paycheck, Webb Pierce and Porter Wagoner are buried.

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