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Kitty Wells, Church of Christ member and Christian school supporter, dies at 92



The country music world mourns the death of Kitty Wells, 92, dubbed the “Queen of Country Music” decades ago.
Fellow Christians remember a woman of faith who was a member of the Goodlettsville Church of Christ in Tennessee and a longtime supporter of Goodpasture Christian School in Madison, Tenn., which is associated with Churches of Christ.
David Sturdivant is a grandson of Kitty Wells and a Goodpasture alumnus. He shared with The Christian Chronicle a document from an anniversary celebration last year that highlights the connection of Wells and her late husband, Johnnie Wright, to the school:

Kitty Wells in a 1943 publicity photo (via kittywells.com)

Kitty Wells Connection to Goodpasture

Kitty Wells was the first female to have a #1 record on the country music charts. She had chart topping records for 30 years. She toured and performed with her husband, Johnnie Wright for 70 years and they have been married for 73 years.
Those are some amazing streaks.  Now, here’s a streak she has that is tied to Goodpasture. In the fall of 1969, Kitty Wells’ grandson, John Sturdivant Jr., began attending Goodpasture. In all, she has had 8 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren, and 10 nieces and nephews attend Goodpasture. For each year from 1969 until today, someone related to Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright has attended Goodpasture.  That’s 41 consecutive years.
Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright helped support Goodpasture in many ways through the years. They performed benefit concerts in the high school gym. They provided the initial donation to get the fund raising started to build the band room that we have today. For several years, they came to visit Goodpasture 2nd graders while they were studying country music.  They brought their tour bus and let the youngsters walk around inside.  Then, they would sing a song or two for them.  Later, Kitty and Johnnie opened a museum in Madison and they let the 2nd graders come walk through the museum for free each year.
We appreciate the many contributions that Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright have made to Goodpasture Christian School. With so many of their family members having attended school here, we appreciate them adding a little extra to a familiar verse from the Bible. Multiply, be fruitful, and provide a Christian education for your children at Goodpasture.

Wright, Wells’ husband of more than 70 years, died last year.
Funeral services for Wells will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Hendersonville Church of Christ in Tennessee.
In lieu of flowers, Wells’ family requests donations to Goodpasture Christian School, in the name of the Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Scholarship Fund.

  • Feedback
    I was so glad to hear Kitty Wells was a member of the Church of Christ!
    Jackie Dewoody
    July, 17 2012

    Back in the mid 70’s I saw Kitty Wells at the Abilene Christian University Bible Teacher’s Workshop. Ira North brought his Sunday school teachers and the Madison ministers, including Ray Walker, who sung back-up for Elvis, to conduct the workshop, but after the evening gathering in Moody Coliseum everyone got a big surprise. He had brought, at the time, one of the Madison church’s members, The Queen of Country Music herself. I was pretty impressed that she would bring a bit of Nashville all the way out to West Texas. About two thousand Bible class teachers, plus lots of others who had heard about the show, had a toe-tappin’ good time that night. I learned to love country music after that.
    Ed Allred
    July, 17 2012

    Inattended Escambia Christian School in the 70’s and early 80’s. Kitty Wells and Johnnie
    Wright did a benefit concert when I was in Middle School. I still remember him singin, “Stop the World and let me off . . . “
    Scott McCown
    July, 17 2012

    I read about Kitty Wells passing this morning in the newspaper. I remember thinking that she sounds like a wonderful person and hoping she knew the Lord. Good to read this report.
    Don Selvidge
    July, 17 2012

    What a wonderful Christian Singer. I did not know it until today, but I recall her singing since the early 50’s. I did see her in Amarillo the Summer of 1956 and enjoyed the show. Thank you Kittie.
    Bud Rawlins
    July, 17 2012

    As a gospel preacher and a lover of classic country, gospel and bluegrass, it has been a pleasure for me to follow the life of Kitty Wells down through the years.
    For the past 10 years I have provided the comedy for the Ohio Valley Opry, Ohio’s #1 country music show, and I have learned to love the people who make up this segment of show-business.
    Indeed, there are still some really decent human beings in our modern world. Kitty Wells was one of these people!
    – Tom Butterfield (Uncle Doofus) Pursley, WV
    Tom Butterfield
    July, 17 2012

    As my younger years, I heard and enjoyed the comedy team Johnny and Jack, and I also enjoyed hearing Kitty Wells’ singing. I didn’t realize at the time that Johnny and Kitty were married and that they were members of the church of Christ. Years later, I found this out and was very happy. I know their influence for the Lord was great and that they were in a position to be of help to so many people. I know they will be missed, and I pray for their family in their time of sorrow.
    James Haney
    July, 18 2012

    Precious in the side of God is the death of a Christian.
    May their lives inspire many to hold unto Christ in all they do here on earth.
    I sympathies with those family members she left behind.
    … Mojima Etokudo-Nigeria
    Mojima Etokudo
    July, 18 2012

    We have been fans of Kitty Wells for years and had heard years ago of her and Johnnie’s love for the Lord and their service. She will be missed by many. Several times she has been on “Country Reunion” on RFD TV on Friday nights. Hopefully, we will be able to see her on there some more.
    Ed and Betty Pfalzgraf
    July, 18 2012

    Kitty Wells was one of my favorite singers as a child. I knew all along that she was a member of The Church and always appreciated how she lived her life and helped others on a consistent basis. She will be missed but memories of her will always be in the minds of many folks.
    Jerry Wheeler
    July, 18 2012

    I had listened to Kitty Wells since I was a teen-ager and enjoyed her singing very much.
    I am so glad to learn, she and her husband had been members of the Church of Christ! We rejoice at their influence in the Country Music World. If the Lord wills, we will see them in Heaven.
    Sue Tillett
    July, 19 2012

    I loved to hear Kitty sing. Wish I could have heard her singing during a church service. I learned she and Johnnie were members of the Church of Christ back in May when I visited Nashville. I’m glad to learn about their involvement with the Goodpasture Christian School and the wonderful things they did for the students over the years. My prayers are with her family.
    Sonja Chapman
    July, 20 2012

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