Grand Ole Opry star Stonewall Jackson died Saturday (Dec. 4) morning after a long battle with vascular dementia. Mr. Jackson was 89 years old.
The country singer was born Thomas Jackson in Tabor City, North Carolina, on Nov. 6, 1932. He was named after Thomas “Stonewall Jackson,” a Confederate general in the Civil War.
Mr. Jackson’s biggest hits include “Waterloo,” “Don’t Be Angry” and “B.J. the D.J.,” and over the course of his decades in the genre, he charted more than 40 times on Billboard’s country singles chart.
“Saddened to hear of the loss of one of the Honky Tonk heroes of the 50’s and 60’s Grand Ole Opry member STONEWALL JACKSON went home today … Rest Easy sir!!” fellow Opry members The Oak Ridge Boys tweeted on news of Mr. Jackson’s passing.
Mr. Jackson’s love of music started at an early age when at 10 years old, he traded his bicycle for a guitar. He grew up in Georgia, moved to Nashville in 1956, and joined the Grand Ole Opry. Within 12 months, he signed a record deal with Columbia Records and recorded his first song, “Don’t Be Angry.” “Waterloo” followed in 1959 and became his first No. 1 hit. It sat at the top of the country charts for five weeks and crossed over the pop charts to climb to No. 4.
At the time of his death, Mr. Jackson had been an Opry member for 65 years – long enough to make him the Opry’s most tenured member.
Saturday night’s Opry performance will be dedicated to Mr. Jackson.
Funeral arrangements are pending.