Loretta Lynn married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, Jr. when she was just 15 years old and he was 21. He was known as “Doolittle” and the two had only known each other for one month prior to marrying on January 10, 1948. Together, the two had a difficult relationship, according to Lynn, who said it was filled with infidelity and sometimes a bit of violence, according to CMT.
In Lynn’s autobiography “Still Woman Enough”, she wrote, “Doo was a good man and a hard worker. But he was an alcoholic, and it affected our marriage all the way through. He was also a womanizer.” Regardless of the ups and downs in their marriage, the couple remained married for almost 50 years, until Doolittle’s death in 1996. Doolittle’s death was attributed to diabetes-related health problems and heart failure. He was buried on the estate of the family ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
Over the course of their marriage, Loretta and Doolittle had six children – Betty Sue, Jack Benny, Clara Marie “Cissie”, Ernest Ray “Ernie”, along with twins Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen. Unfortunately, one of Lynn’s sons and one of her daughters have died. They were Lynn’s two eldest kids – Betty Sue and Jack Benny.
Jack died on July 24, 1984, at just 34 years old, while attempting to ford the Duck River at the Lynns’ family ranch. Jack was riding his horse, Black Jack, and the horse lived, while Jack drowned, attempting to cross the river, as reported by People. FindAGrave.com reported that, “The coroner concluded he fell from his horse while crossing the stream, struck his head, was rendered unconscious and drowned.”
Betty Sue Lynn’s death wasn’t until July 29, 2013. She died of emphysema, passing away at the family ranch as well. Betty Sue was 64 years old at the time of her death. According to Medical Daily, Loretta Lynn’s team announced the news on Facebook, writing this message:
The Lynn Family appreciates all of your prayers, love and support of our family’s loss. Betty was Loretta’s oldest daughter. Betty leaves two daughters, Lynn Markworth and Audrey Dyer.
Betty Sue Lynn also left behind five grandchildren in death.
If losing a husband and two children wasn’t enough, Lynn has also had to say goodbye to one of her grandchildren. According to Taste of Country, in 2016, Lynn’s oldest grandson, Jeffrey Allen Lynn, passed away, at the age of 47. In a Facebook post announcing the sad news, Lynn’s team wrote:
American music icon, Loretta Lynn is mourning the passing of her eldest grandson, Jeffrey Allen Lynn who died unexpectedly on Monday. Jeffrey was 47 and lived and worked on Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Jeffrey was the eldest son of Jack Benny Lynn, Lynn’s second child and eldest son who tragically drowned in 1984. Jeffrey Allen Lynn is survived by three children, Jory, Katie and Cody.
Lynn has four surviving children.
In recent years, Lynn has had her own health problems, starting in May 2017, when she suffered a stroke at her ranch, according to Taste of Country. Then, on January 1, 2018, she fell and broke her hip.