On the evening of January 2, Grand Ole Opry's oldest cast member, Little Jimmy Dickens has died. Since Christmas day, Dickens has been hospitalized. After spending Christmas and New Year in the hospital, Dickens died of a cardiac arrest at the age 94.
Dickens was born December 19, 1920 in Bolt, W.Va. After high school, he attended West Virginia University. It was during that time that he began his performing career at WJLS in Beckley. Just like with many performers of the day, Dickens took his act on the road, winding up at Saginaw's WKNX Radio, where he came to the attention of Roy Acuff. That exposure led to a meeting with Columbia's Art Satherley and executives at the Opry. Dickens became a member of the WSM Radio show in August 1948, and signed with Columbia the next month.
The singer hit the charts with a vengeance in 1949, with four records in the top ten -- "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)," "Country Boy," "My Heart's Bouquet," and "A-Sleeping At The Foot Of The Bed," which peaked at No. 6 on the charts. Dickens became one of the format's biggest stars in the early 1950s, thanks to continued success with singles such as "I'm Little But I'm Loud," "Hillbilly Fever," and "Out Behind The Barn."
Dickens turned 94 on Dec. 19, and made his final appearance on the Opry stage the next night.
"The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens. He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back."
He is survived by a wife, Mona, and two daughters, Pamela and Lisa. Funeral arrangements are pending.