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Bill Owens obituary: Dolly Parton’s uncle dies at 85 –


Bill Owens was a country music songwriter who was Dolly Parton’s uncle and mentor.

Building Dolly’s career, and his own

Owens wrote songs for many top country musicians, including Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner (1927–2007), and Kris Kristofferson. He was also a guitarist who toured extensively with musicians including his niece, Parton. In the early days of her career, Owens helped her as she worked to get a record contract, and he wrote music with her. Among the songs Owens and Parton wrote together was “Put it Off Until Tomorrow” from her 1967 debut album, “Hello, I’m Dolly.” The song was a hit for Bill Phillips and won BMI Song of the Year in 1966. Most of Parton’s early albums include at least one track written by Owens or by the two together. Owens also worked at Dollywood, performing there for many years. An environmentalist, he was an instrumental part of the fight to restore the American chestnut tree to the Great Smoky Mountains.

Tributes to Bill Owens

I am sad by the loss of my uncle Bill Owens. He was the architect of our musical journey. Without his big ideas and hard work in the beginning, my big sister Dolly nor I would have dared to dream so big! Someone always turns on a light for our journey. RIP uncle Bill.

— Stella Parton (@StellaParton) April 8, 2021

Sad to hear of the Passing of @DollyParton‘s Uncle Bill Owens — her Mom Avie Lee’s brother.

Uncle Bill gave Dolly her 1st guitar before she was 10, got her on the Grand Ole Opry at 13, and Believed in #DollyParton as a Child.

We Miss You Uncle Bill ❤️

⬇️ Uncle Bill and Me ⬇️

— Scott Peterson 🇺🇸 (@ScottPeterson69) April 7, 2021

Full obituary:

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