Country Music Fan Club Pioneer Loretta Johnson Dies

Funeral services for Loretta Johnson, a pioneer of country music fan clubs, are scheduled for Monday (April 20) in Beaver, Okla. She died Monday (April 13) of cancer at age 68. She, along with her sisters Loudilla Johnson and Kay Johnson, formed what is acknowledged to be first official country music fan club in 1963 at their ranch in Wild Horse, Colo. It was the official Loretta Lynn fan club and was approved by Lynn. From there, the Johnson sisters started the International Fan Club Organization (IFCO) in 1965, again with Lynn’s blessing and encouragement. IFCO was started to encourage fans of other country artists to form their own fan clubs and to communicate with each other through IFCO. The organization now advises many country fan clubs. IFCO presented its first artist showcase in Nashville in 1968 at the Country Music Disc Jockey Convention, the forerunner of Fan Fair and today’s CMA Music Festival. IFCO continues with that tradition and maintains an active Web site. Plans are underway for a memorial concert, titled For the Love of IFCO, to help defray Loretta Johnson’s medical expenses. It is tentatively scheduled for June 9 at the Nashville Palace.