Country songwriter killed in Tenn. house fire

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 8:53 AM CDT
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SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WSMV) - A house fire claimed the life of country songwriter Ray Pennington on Wednesday.

“I lost the greatest man I’ve ever known,” said Katie McCormack, his granddaughter.

For McCormack, Pennington was just “Pop.” To the world, he was a well-known singer, songwriter and producer in country music. His song, “I’m A Ramblin' Man,” was a hit for Waylon Jennings.

“He liked to sing in the morning to wake you up. He made everything a song,” McCormack said.

It’s his kind spirit she will miss the most, and the farm she along with many others called home.

“I just knew it was a big one,” said Chief Martin Bowers of Shackle Island Volunteer Fire Department.

He said he could tell by the smoke. “Usually when you see that much smoke, it usually means it’s already through the roof,” he said.

Bowers says the fire started in the garage with the golf cart and spread to the house.

Pennington didn’t survive, but his wife, Charlotte, did. His granddaughter describes it as losing everything, “Your inspiration, who you want to be like. You want to be just like him.”

That’s why she plans to carry on his legacy. “Spread kindness like him. See the best in everything, the good in everything,” McCormack said.

Pennington was 86 years old, according to his family.

Copyright 2020 WSMV via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.