Country music star Glen Campbell has died at the age of 81 from complications from Alzheimer’s. He leaves behind a large, extended family who loved him very much. His parents and uncles helped guide him into the music business, and his family will now carry on the amazing legend that he began. He will be greatly missed.
Here’s everything you need to know about Glen Campbell’s family.
1. His Parents, John Wesley and Carrie Dell Campbell, Had 12 Children
Glen Campbell was the seventh son of 12 children. His parents were John Wesley and Carrie Dell (Stone) Campbell. He was born on April 22, 1936 in Billstown, a small community in Arkansas. His dad, John Wesley, was a sharecropper. He was born into tough economic times for his family, but his dad still bought him a $5 Sears Roebuck guitar when he was four, but they didn’t have electricity for him to plug it in. Growing up, he shared a bed with his three brothers.
His family moved to Houston and then to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he began to perform in nigthclubs as a teen.
2. Many of His Relatives Were Musicians and Helped Guide His Passion for Music
Many of Glen’s relatives were musicians, too, or encouraged his passion for music. He said that his uncle, Boo, taught him how to play the guitar when he was very young. His first opportunity to sing was at the local Church of Christ, where his grandfather was a preacher.
In 1954, he joined his uncle’s Dick Bill’s band, the Sandia Mountain Boys. He also appeared on his uncle’s radio show. Four years later he formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.
3. He Has Eight Children and Many of Them are Musicians, Too
Glenn has eight children from four different wives. His children are Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, Dillon, Cal, Shannon, and Ashley. A number of Glen’s children are also musicians. His oldest daughter, Debby, sang and played with him on his 15-date Christmas tour in 2003. Here she is singing with him in 1996:
Dillon Campbell is a singer/songwriter.
Shannon, Ashley, and Cal performed in Glen’s band with him until Glen was forced to retire from Alzheimer’s. Ashley’s now a country music singer in her own right. Here’s a video of Ashley and Shannon performing their dad’s song: “Gentle on My Mind.”
In this video from 1988, Glen performs a song while Cal accompanies him on drums:
One of Glen’s last songs was “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” and Shannon released a video of himself performing the song after his dad could no longer do so himself. See Shannon’s video below:
4. He Had Three Ex-Wives
Glen was married three times before he married his current wife. He was married to Diane Kirk from from 1955 to 1959 and they had one child. He then married Billie Jean Nunley, and they filed for divorce in 1975. He and Billie had three children. After their divorce, he married Sara Barg in September 1976 and they were married until 1980.
After Barg and Glen divorced, he had a relationship with Tanya Tucker and they recorded a number of songs together, but they were never married. Here they are performing Dream Lover:
5. Glen Was Married to Kimberly Campbell Since 1982
Since 1982, Glen has been married to Kimberly “Kim” Woollen. They met on a blind date in 1981 and have three children. Glen joined a Baptist church with Kim, but in 2008 they said they were Messianic Jews. Kim has been a loving supporter of her husband and stood by his side, caring for him as he suffered Alzheimer’s. She and his children eventually had to put him a long-term care facility to help with his care. Kim blogged about his Alzheimer’s on CareLiving.org here.