When Dottie West passed away in 1991, the entire country music community mourned her loss. West, who was en route to the Opry when she was in a car accident on Aug. 30, had numerous injuries from the crash, including a lacerated liver. After already having two operations, West died from complications while enduring her third surgery. Only 58 years old at the time of her death, West was still recording and releasing music when she passed away.
Considered one of the most influential country music artists of the '60s, '70s and '80s, West had numerous chart-topping hits throughout her abbreviated career, including "A Lesson in Leavin'," "Are You Happy in Love," and "Every Time Two Fools Collide," one of numerous duets she recorded with Kenny Rogers.
West, who would be 85 years old if still alive today, has been mentioned for years as an artist who should be in the Hall of Fame, by both her peers and country music fans. But perhaps no one is more thrilled that West is finally receiving the honor than West's good friend, Jeannie Seely.
"Although I was privileged to be Dottie's friend for many years, I've always still been a Dottie West fan," Seely shared at the Hall of Fame after West was announced as an inductee. "My admiration for her began when I first saw her on the Landmark Jamboree television show back in Cleveland, Ohio. I was still back home in Pennsylvania then. I was connected with her immediately, not only for her voice, but for her class, her style, and her presence. Once we met in person, that admiration only grew because I got to see what kind of person she was, how kind and how generous, and just plain fun. She was the kind of girl you want for a friend."
West had numerous well-documented financial struggles towards the latter part of her career, including lawsuits over money she owed, and the loss of her house and car when she was forced to file for bankruptcy. But in spite of her hardships, Seely said nothing – not even her challenges – could keep her down for long.
"Dottie's path was never easy, but she had the strongest determination," added Seely. "She just never, never wavered from that road, no matter how tough it got at times. But this is where that road was supposed to end. Most of you that knew Dottie really well would know that she loved lights, little lamps, candles, everywhere, and they all had to be burning, all of the time. I can't help but think that she's probably gonna have every damn light in heaven burning tonight."
West, along with Ricky Skaggs and Johnny Gimble, will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame at a special, invitation-only ceremony held later this year.
Photo Credit: Instagram/OfficialDottieWest