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Loretta Lynn’s Husband Dies

August 23, 1996

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ O.V. ``Mooney″ Lynn, who persuaded his wife, Loretta, to give her first public performance and watched as she went on to become one of country music’s biggest stars, has died, a family spokeswoman said today.

The spokeswoman in the singer’s manager’s office, who would not give her name, said Lynn died at 10:30 p.m. Thursday at his home 70 miles west of Nashville. He had been hospitalized frequently in recent years for heart failure and diabetes, and both his feet had been amputated.

His age was unknown, but he was believed to be in his late 60s. Associates have said for years they don’t know his age.

Lynn was portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones in the award-winning 1980 movie, ``Coal Miner’s Daughter,″ based on his wife’s 1976 autobiography.

The couple married in the late ’40s, when she was just 13. He bought his wife a $17 guitar for her 18th birthday in 1953, and she always credited him with persuading her to sing in public for the first time seven years later.

``If it wasn’t for Doolittle (her nickname for him), there would be no career,″ she wrote in the book.

She wrote that Mooney went up to a bandleader at a meeting hall near where they lived in Washington state and said, ``Hey, I got a girl here tonight who’s the best country singer there is, next to Kitty Wells, and I ain’t kidding.″

The bandleader didn’t let her sing that night, but did a week later. Within months, she had a recording contract and was on her way to becoming nationally known.

More recently, her husband ran the 1,140-acre Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch which they purchased in 1967.

Mooney Lynn had served in the Army during World War II and worked the coal mines before he met Loretta. They had six children, including four by the time she was 18. Their son Jack drowned in 1984.

The singer wrote in ``Coal Miner’s Daughter″ that her husband got the name ``Doolittle″ as an infant and no one knows why. He picked up the name ``Mooney″ because he used to run moonshine.

Mooney Lynn often wore a black cowboy hat with a warning for others inside: ``Like hell it’s yours.″

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