Although totally expected, given the somber news over the past week, the death of Porter Wagoner is no less sad.
Wagoner, 80, died Sunday night, less than two days after being released to hospice care and 12 days after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Porter Wayne Wagoner was born August 12, 1927 in West Plains, Missouri. He began singing on radio in Springfield, Missouri in the early 50s before joining the Ozark Jubilee with Red Foley. In 1954, he scored his first hit, "Company's Comin'." His next hit would be his biggest, 1955's "A Satisfied Mind." The song stayed at #1 for four weeks.
For the next 15 years, Wagoner was a staple on country radio, either as a solo performer or with duet partner Dolly Parton. His solo hits included "Green, Green Grass of Home," "Misery Loves Company" (which was written by Jerry Reed in the early 1960s), "The Cold Hard Facts of Life," and "Your Old Love Letters." Among his more popular duets with Parton were "The Last Thing on My Mind," "Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man," "Making Plans," and "Yours Love."
He also hosted a syndicated television show that featured Norma Jean as the first "girl singer" before Parton joined the cast in 1967. Other familiar faces on The Porter Wagoner Show included Buck Trent (who played an electric banjo), Speck Rhodes, and dancing fiddler Mack Magaha.
Steve Eng published a biography on Wagoner, A Satisfied Mind, in 1992. Wagoner had a street in his hometown named for him. In 2002 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
When life has ended, my time has run out
My friends and my loved ones I'll leave, there's no doubt
But there's one thing for certain, when it comes my time
I'll leave this old world with a satisfied mind
A sad and heartfelt farewell to "the thin man from West Plains," Porter Wagoner, 1927-2007.