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‘Mooney’ Lynn, Loretta Lynn’s Hard-Living Husband, Dies

August 23, 1996 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ O.V. ``Mooney″ Lynn, who coaxed his wife, Loretta, onto the stage for the first time and watched as the coal miner’s daughter rose to country music stardom, has died at 69.

The hard-drinking Lynn, who died at home Thursday, had been hospitalized repeatedly since 1993 because of heart failure and diabetes. His feet were amputated in recent years.

Lynn was portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones in the 1980 movie ``Coal Miner’s Daughter,″ based on his wife’s autobiography.

Lynn had been a coal miner and moonshine runner (hence the nickname ``Mooney″) in Kentucky before he married Loretta in 1948 when she was just 13.

He bought his wife her first guitar for $17 for her 18th birthday in 1953, and in 1960 urged her to sing in public for the first time. She reluctantly did so. Months later, she had her first hit record, ``I’m a Honky-Tonk Girl,″ and was on the road to stardom.

``If it wasn’t for Doolittle (her nickname for him), there would be no career,″ Loretta Lynn wrote in her autobiography.

She wrote that Mooney went up to a bandleader at a meeting hall near where they lived in Washington state and said, ``Hey, I got a girl here tonight who’s the best country singer there is, next to Kitty Wells, and I ain’t kidding.″

The bandleader didn’t let her sing that night, but did a week later.

More recently, Lynn ran the 1,140-acre Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch 70 miles west of Nashville, which the couple purchased in 1967. He periodically accompanied his wife on her concert tours.

Charlie Dick, widower of country star Patsy Cline and a close friend of Mooney Lynn, said Mooney Lynn ``took care of Loretta. He watched over her.″

He often wore a black cowboy hat with a warning inside: ``Like hell it’s yours.″ At the world premiere of ``Coal Miner’s Daughter″ in Nashville, he chattered throughout and regaled the audience with comments like ``Here comes a good part.″

Lynn, a native of Johnson County, Ky., served in the Army during World War II. Loretta Lynn wrote in ``Coal Miner’s Daughter″ that her husband got the name ``Doolittle″ as an infant and no one knows why.

Besides his wife, Lynn is survived by five children, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A funeral will be held Saturday in Hurricane Mills, where the Lynn ranch is situated.