Little Jimmy Dickens Remembered As ‘The Heart Of The Grand Ole Opry’
Dickens final Opry performance was on December 20, as part of his birthday celebration. He performed regularly on the weekly show, playing songs like 'May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose' and participating in comedy bits. Credit Anne Swoboda via Flickr

Little Jimmy Dickens Remembered As ‘The Heart Of The Grand Ole Opry’

Dickens final Opry performance was on December 20, as part of his birthday celebration. He performed regularly on the weekly show, playing songs like 'May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose' and participating in comedy bits. Credit Anne Swoboda via Flickr
Dickens final Opry performance was on December 20, as part of his birthday celebration. He performed regularly on the weekly show, playing songs like ‘May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose’ and participating in comedy bits. Credit Anne Swoboda via Flickr

Little Jimmy Dickens’ hat, boots and guitar held center stage of the Grand Ole Opry Thursday as the country music community said a final goodbye to one of their mainstays.

The 4 foot 11 singer was known for his joke telling and novelty songs, but speakers like  Vince Gill remembered his kindness and longevity. “If only the good die young,” Gill said, “the greatest of all live to be 94 and sing two weeks before they pass on. And that’s pretty remarkable.”

Dickens was the last remaining Opry member to have performed with Uncle Dave Macon. Singer Connie Smith remembered him as always being quick to welcome new musicians to the fold. Calling Dickens “the heart of the Grand Ole Opry,” Smith said “I watched him so many times stand at the side of this Opry stage and assess everything. He was there to support and to love.”

Dickens died Friday of a heart attack. He was 94 years old.

After the Opry’s flood damage was repaired in 2010, Dickens and Brad Paisley lead Opry members in their return to the stage. His funeral ended with a performance of this song, ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken.’

Nina Cardona

Nina Cardona is WPLN's host for All Things Considered. As a reporter, she covers a wide range of assignments with an emphasis on culture, the arts and local history. A graduate of Converse College, she's lived in Middle Tennessee most of her life.
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