Mrs. Ruth Musick “Mama Ruth” Jackson, Alan Jackson’s mother, died Saturday morning (Jan. 7) at her home in Newnan, Georgia, at age 86.
Alan Jackson’s childhood memories of his mother inspired much of his music, including his Precious Memories album, a collection of gospel hymns he recorded as a Mother’s Day gift with no intention of ever releasing the project commercially. Jackson’s second Christmas album, Let It Be Christmas, was also inspired by her wish to hear him record a set of traditional holiday classics.
Jackson also told the story of his parents’ early years as a couple in “Home,” describing their house built around an old tool shed. His mother lived there for 70 years until the day she died.
In addition to Jackson’s frequent references to his mother, her occasional appearance at awards shows and events made her a beloved figure to Jackson’s fans. It was a role she embraced, greeting those who frequently sought out her son’s childhood home, inviting them to take a photo on the front porch or offering them a glass of iced tea.
Born in Lowell, Georgia, she was just 16 when she married Joseph Eugene “Daddy Gene” Jackson in 1946.
Mrs. Jackson is survived by their five children — including daughters Diane, Cathy, Carol and Connie — as well as 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Eugene Jackson died in January 2000.