Opry Great Wilma Lee Cooper Dies

Joined Opry in 1957

Wilma Lee Cooper, a Grand Ole Opry star since 1957, died Tuesday, Sept. 13, at her home in Sweetwater, Tenn., at age 90 from natural causes.

Wilma Lee achieved national prominence with her husband Stoney Cooper as the popular country music act, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper and The Clinch Mountain Clan. Their best-known hits included “Big Midnight Special” and “There’s a Big Wheel,” both released in 1959. Stoney died in 1977 but Wilma Lee carried on, performing regularly at the Grand Ole Opry.

She had suffered from health problems over the last several years due to a stroke and her last solo Opry performance came on Feb. 24, 2001, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Wilma Lee joined the Opry cast in a group singalong in 2010 at the reopening of the Grand Ole Opry House.

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