Ray Stevens’ Wife Penny Has Died
The wife of Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter Ray Stevens has died. Penny Jackson Ragsdale died on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31), shortly before midnight.
Ragsdale's death comes two days after the singer alerted his fans that her time was short. In a note on Facebook, the 82-year-old canceled his New Year's Eve concert at CabaRay due to his wife's rapid decline. A statement from Stevens' publicist shares that she was battling cancer prior to her death at age 78. She died in their Nashville home.
The couple were married for more than 60 years and had two daughters, Timi and Suzy. Ragsdale (Stevens' birth name is Harold Ragsdale) is also survived by four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements will be announced soon.
Known for his comedic stylings, Stevens first shot to fame with his Grammy-winning hit, "Everything Is Beautiful," in 1970. He won another Grammy for "Misty" in 1975, and he's also known for humorous hits including "Guitarzan," "The Streak" and "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?"
In more recent years, the singer-songwriter and producer has focused on performing at his self-owned CabaRay dinner theater (opened in 2018), as well as a series of recording projects. He released a COVID-era satire titled "The Quarantine Song" in 2020.
Stevens is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Christian Music Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music of Fame.