Dolly Parton Was Too Upset to Sing a Willie Nelson Song at Her Grandmother’s Funeral

Dolly Parton wears a denim jacket and Willie Nelson wears a black shirt. He plays guitar.
Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson | Bob D’Amico/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Dolly Parton avoids funerals

When she was growing up in Tennessee, Parton formed a close relationship with a neighbor she called Aunt Marth. According to Parton, one of her first memories is Aunt Marth bouncing her on her knee.

Dolly Parton has always been open with her fans, from self-deprecating jokes to more vulnerable moments. She shared that her grandmother loved a Willie Nelson song and hoped Parton would sing it at her funeral. Ultimately, Parton was too emotional to do so. Still, she found a sweet way to dedicate the song to her grandma. 

Parton was stunned when she attended Aunt Marth’s funeral, not fully comprehending that she was dead. When she tried to run away, some boys in her family began describing the way Aunt Marth’s body would decompose.