Jerry Wiggins, the second drummer in the famed Buckaroos, has died.
Wiggins died yesterday (6-26). Posts on his Facebook wall from late last week requested prayers because he was "not doing good."
Jerry Wiggins came to the Buckaroos in 1967, replacing Willie Cantu. He arrived just in time for the debut of Hee Haw, which debuted on CBS two years later. Although not an "original" Buckaroo, Wiggins was the backbeat for the band during their heyday of winning countless awards (including four Academy of Country Music [ACM] awards in the "band" category).
In 1971 he married Owens' duet partner, Susan Raye, against the wishes of Owens ("he said it wouldn't work," Raye told a Bakersfield newspaper three years ago). That was at the height of Hee Haw and Susan's career: with songs like "L.A. International Airport" and her duet with Owens, "Great White Horse," there was little anyone associated with Buck Owens could do wrong.
And then....Jerry Wiggins walked away from the music business. Raye did as well, earning a Bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master's in education school counseling.
The couple lived generally removed from the trappings of their successful music life after that, with Wiggins operating an appliance repair store (per his Facebook wall) and Susan working in schools as a counselor. Devoted Christians, they lived their faith throughout the 47 years of their married life.
In addition to Susan Raye Wiggins, who was treated for breast cancer in 2016, Jerry Wiggins is survived by their six children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren (at last count).
Farewell to Jerry Wiggins.