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Bill Owens: Dolly Parton's uncle and country music mentor dead at 85

Dolly Parton
Posted at 7:15 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 07:15:16-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country songwriter Bill Owens, who was a mentor and early songwriting partner to his niece Dolly Parton, has died.

Parton’s publicist says Owens died Wednesday. He was 85.

Parton wrote a lengthy eulogy for her uncle, saying “I wouldn't be here if he hadn't been there.”

Owens helped Parton get her first radio performance at the age of 10 and often would drive her to shows and encourage her to practice.

They co-wrote songs together, including “Put It Off Until Tomorrow,” a top 10 hit for Bill Phillips. It was named BMI song of the year in 1966.

His songs were also recorded by Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs and Kris Kristofferson.