Chet Atkins’ Wife, Leona, Dead at 85

Leona Atkins, the 85-year-old widow of Chet Atkins died Wednesday (Oct. 21) at her home in Nashville. The soon-to-be-legendary guitar player met Leona Johnson in the mid-1940s when she was performing with her sister on the Boone County Jamboree at radio station WLW in Cincinnati. He married her in 1946. (Her sister, Lois, married Kenneth “Jethro” Burns of the comic duo, Homer & Jethro.) Chet Atkins was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973 and died in 2001. Mrs. Atkins is survived by a daughter, Merle Atkins Russell.