Dolly Parton has paid her respects to her uncle, who she credits for encouraging her to become a singer.
Bill Owens passed away earlier this week and his famous niece took to Facebook on Wednesday to pay tribute to him.
“I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there,” she wrote, sharing: “I knew my heart would break when he passed, and it did.”
The hitmaker mourned: “He was there… there in my young years to encourage me to keep playing my guitar, to keep writing my songs, to keep practicing my singing. And he was there to help build my confidence standing on stage where he was always standing behind me or close beside me with his big ol’ red Gretsch guitar.”
The Jolene singer then noted: “It’s really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success (sic). But I can tell you for sure that I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot.”
Owens wrote hundreds of country songs, which were recorded by Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, and Kris Kristofferson, among others. He collaborated with Dolly on Put It Off Until Tomorrow.
He was also a great environmentalist.
“I bet a lot of our own relatives don’t even know all of the great things that Uncle Bill did behind the scenes through his life,” Parton reflected, adding: “but the greatest thing he ever did for me was to help me see my dreams come true and for that I will be forever grateful.”