Restoring Tammy Wynette’s Name to Her Crypt: The Fight for Her Legacy


In recent years, a contentious issue has emerged in the world of country music. Tammy Wynette, the iconic First Lady of Country Music, known for timeless classics like “Stand By Your Man,” is at the center of a battle over her legacy. Specifically, her burial crypt bears a name that her daughters believe should be corrected. This article delves into the story of Tammy Wynette’s daughters and their quest to restore her name, Tina Denise Byrd, to her final resting place.

The Controversial Name Change

Two years ago, Tammy Wynette’s name on her burial crypt was replaced with her married name, Virginia W. Richardson. This decision was made under the assumption that it would be temporary. However, the Wynette family now faces a roadblock in reversing this change because they do not own the burial crypt located at Nashville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park. Georgette Jones Lennon, one of Wynette’s daughters, is leading the charge to correct this mistake. She is reaching out to the public for support in rectifying this situation.

A Plea for Public Support

Georgette Jones Lennon and her three sisters are seeking the assistance of the public to help restore their mother’s rightful name, Tina Denise Byrd, to her crypt. They have created a Facebook page called “A Restoration: Tammy Wynette’s Name and Legacy 1942-1948” to gather support from fans and well-wishers who share their cause. Tammy Wynette was not just a country music legend; she was Tina Denise Byrd, and her daughters want the world to remember her as such.

Legal Hurdles and Family Feuds

The sisters are actively consulting with an attorney to explore the possibility of obtaining a court order to reinstate the name Tammy Wynette. They hope that the backing of the public will strengthen their legal case. However, they have faced numerous challenges in the past when attempting to secure their mother’s legacy. Their mother’s estate, including her personal belongings and intellectual property rights, was left in the hands of George Richardson, professionally known as George Richey, after her passing in 1998.

The Disputed Estate

George Richey assumed control of Tammy Wynette’s home, personal items, publishing rights, and business ventures upon her death. The daughters claim that their mother had provided them with a handwritten list detailing the distribution of personal items, but Richey reported that he could not locate this list. Consequently, they were left without their grandmother’s cherished butter churn or even their own childhood photographs.

Intellectual Property Rights Sold

The contentious issue escalated when it was discovered that the intellectual property rights to Tammy Wynette’s music catalog, her name and likeness rights, as well as the trademarks associated with her, were sold to a music publishing company called The Bicycle Music Co. and its affiliate, the AF Circle C. Fund, shortly before George Richey’s death in 2010. This sale stripped the daughters of their hopes of inheriting these valuable assets that were a significant part of their mother’s legacy.

A Temporary Name Change

Amid these legal battles, one of George Richey’s children, Deirdre Richardson Hale, who is also a lawyer, suggested changing the name on the burial crypt temporarily. This decision was made to address legal concerns during a planned challenge to the sale of Tammy Wynette’s intellectual property. However, the name change turned out to be far from what Wynette’s daughters had expected.

A Misunderstood Change

Georgette Jones Lennon, the only child from Wynette’s marriage to George Jones, revealed that they believed the temporary name change would revert to their mother’s maiden name, Virginia Wynette Pugh. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and the crypt now bears the name Virginia W. Richardson.

Family Discord and Legal Challenges

This ongoing saga has exposed deep-rooted family disputes. Lennon and her sister Jackie Daly have penned books that criticize George Richey for allegedly manipulating their mother, pressuring her to perform when she was unwell, and enabling her addiction to pain medication.

Despite their intentions, the legal challenge to regain control of their mother’s assets never materialized. The daughters discovered that potential lawyers were reluctant to take on their case on a contingency basis. This was due to a clause in Tammy Wynette’s will that allowed Richey to sell assets for his own well-being if necessary, a clause they believe was never truly invoked.

The Legal Aftermath

Rather than gaining control of their mother’s intellectual property rights, Deirdre Richardson Hale, one of George Richey’s children, found herself entangled in a defamation lawsuit filed by Sheila Richey, George Richey’s widow. Meanwhile, George Richey, who had been interred in the crypt above Tammy Wynette, has since been moved, according to Lennon.

Join the Cause

The fight to restore Tammy Wynette’s name, Tina Denise Byrd, to her crypt continues. Georgette Jones Lennon and her sisters are seeking public support to help rectify this situation and honor their mother’s true identity. By joining the Facebook page “A Restoration: Tammy Wynette’s Name and Legacy 1942-1948,” you can contribute to this effort and help ensure that the First Lady of Country Music is remembered as Tina Denise Byrd.

In conclusion, the legacy of Tammy Wynette, one of country music’s greatest icons, is entangled in a web of legal battles and family disputes. Her daughters are determined to rectify the temporary name change on her burial crypt and restore her true identity. With the support of the public, they hope to bring Tina Denise Byrd back to her rightful place in history.

Scroll to top