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Jean Shepard (born November 21, 1933 in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma) was one of the first female vocalists in the country music field to become a major star in the early 1950's.
Shepard began her career as a teenager singing with the female country band The Melody Ranch Girls. In 1952 she began touring as part of Hank Thompson's road show and that year signed a contract with Capitol Records which would extend into 1973.
Shepard had her first hit in 1953 with A Dear John Letter, a duet with Ferlin Husky which sold over a million copies and became one of the biggest country hits on the decade. She quickly began racking up solo hits including "A Satisfied Mind" and "I Thought of You" and immediately established herself as Kitty Wells top rival for the Queen of Country Music throne.
Shepard has been a Grand Ole Opry member since 1955 and has by far the longest association with the Opry of any female singer, known as the Grand Lady of the Grand Ole Opry. She was married to fellow Opry star Hawkshaw Hawkins and left a widow when he died in the 1963 plane crash that also claimed the lives of Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.