Willie Nelson, the famous country music star, has been entertaining us for a whopping eight decades. In 2023, he’ll turn 90 years old and is still rocking on stage, making him stand out as one of the last survivors from the golden era of country music.
In 2022, Willie released his 72nd solo studio album, “A Beautiful Time,” on his 89th birthday, earning praise from music critics. However, tragedy struck the Nelson family that year when Willie’s older sister, Bobbie, passed away at the age of 91 in March. Bobbie played alongside Willie and had a remarkable life.
Willie and Bobbie grew up in Abbott, Texas, during the Great Depression, raised by their grandparents. Despite being materially poor, they felt rich in love. Bobbie, born in 1931, showed musical talent early on, learning to play the keyboard at five and receiving applause at a gospel convention at six.
Bobbie’s musical interest came from her grandparents, and she played and sang with Willie throughout their childhood. At 14, she started performing with evangelists, and that’s when she met her first husband, Bud Fletcher. Their marriage and collaboration in the band “Bud Fletcher and the Texans” ended tragically, leading to Bobbie’s emotional breakdown and hospitalization.
After a tumultuous period, Willie came to Bobbie’s aid, helping her get back on her feet. She eventually regained custody of her sons, worked at a TV repair shop, and played piano for the Hammond Organ Co.
In the 1970s, as Willie’s career soared, Bobbie joined him on piano for recordings and toured with his band, The Family. Despite releasing a solo album in 2008, Bobbie loved being behind Willie, playing his music.
The siblings remained close throughout their lives, supporting each other through Bobbie’s tragedies, including the loss of two sons. Michael died at 36 from leukemia, and six months later, Randy died in a car accident on New Year’s Eve.
Bobbie found solace in music and touring with Willie, using it as an escape from grief. She performed her last show with Willie in 2021 and passed away in Austin on March 10, 2022, at 91. The cause of death remains undisclosed. The Nelson family expressed their sorrow, highlighting Bobbie’s elegance, grace, and talent, and asked for privacy for the grieving family.