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HomeEntertainmentNaomi Judd’s Funeral: Unveiling Details About the Icon’s Final Farewell

Naomi Judd’s Funeral: Unveiling Details About the Icon’s Final Farewell

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Amidst a somber gathering, Naomi Judd’s funeral honored the iconic star for her musical legacy as friends and fans bid their final farewell. 

American singer Naomi Judd was a chart-topping country artist and philanthropist who left an indelible mark in the music industry. 

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Who Was Naomi Judd?

Naomi Judd was born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky. Her parents were Pauline Ruth “Polly” (née Oliver), a riverboat cook, and Charles Glen Judd, a gas station owner. She had a brother, Brian, who died of leukemia at 17 in 1965. 

Naomi Judd
American Country Singer Naomi Judd. (Source: Pinterest)

At 17, Naomi learned she was pregnant by her high school boyfriend, Charles Jordan. He could not handle the pressure and abandoned her and their daughter. Naomi quickly married Michael Ciminella in 1964 to avoid societal backlash and fend for her infant.

She named her first daughter Christina Claire Ciminella, with the last name after the first man she married. Four years later, the couple welcomed their daughter Ashley Tyler Ciminella in 1968. A couple of years later, Naomi and Michael got divorced in 1972.

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Naomi and Wynonna Judd
Naomi and Wynonna Judd At An Event. (Source: Instagram/UsWeekly)

Naomi changed the names of her children to her maiden name, Wynonna Ellen Judd and Ashley Judd. This was also when she legally changed her name from ‘Diana’ to ‘Naomi.’ 

Naomi changed her name because she did not think it fit “her spiritual, rural Kentucky conception of her true heritage.” She decided to pay homage to the Biblical figure “Naomi.” She found resonance in her story of moving to another land and eventually being left without a husband to raise two women. 

How Did Naomi Judd’s Career Start?

Naomi enrolled in a nursing school in Berea, Kentucky, and moved herself and the girls to the tiny nearby community of Morrill. There, Wynonna learned to play guitar and began to harmonize with her mother, singing on the back porch or around the fire after chores were completed each evening, finding a way to ease mother-daughter tensions. 

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Naomi and Wynonna Judd
Naomi and Wynonna Judd At An Award Show. (Source: Instagram/Komo4)

This is how they formed their infamous country singing duo, “The Judds.” Through the help of a patient, the team landed a live audition at RCA, in front of studio head Joe Galante and producer Tony Brown when Wynonna was 18 years old. They received a contract offer within two hours and released their debut album “Wynonna & Naomi” in 1984.

The album topped the charts, and the mother-daughter duo had a tremendous musical run in the following years. Seven years, eight CMA awards, five Grammys, and 20 million+ record sales later, Naomi retired for health reasons, and the duo split, ending with a 1991 farewell tour. The last show was televised, drawing the largest Pay-per-View audience ever.

Naomi married Larry Strickland on April 6, 1989.

Naomi Judd’s Death

On April 30, 2022, Naomi was found dead with a single gunshot wound to her head in her home in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. She was 76 years old. The coroner ruled her death as a suicide.

The singer was reportedly mentally ill and battled significant anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts. An officer’s note revealed that she had threatened to kill herself six times. Cops also shared images of her bloody bedding and a picture of a gun on a table. The public learned that a Post-it-style paper had been discovered near the 76-year-old’s body after she shot herself.

It said: “Do not let Wy come to my funeral. She’s mentally ill.” The word ‘not’ appeared to have been underlined. This note was heartbreaking to her family and friends as it showed she was not in a good state of mind. 

Strickland was in Europe then, and the police report noted she did not like being alone.

“Didn’t like being alone/Larry in Europe, she threatened to kill herself a half a dozen times, guns were involved. She locked herself in her bedroom,” a sheriff’s deputy wrote in a handwritten note from the scene.

Naomi Judd’s Funeral

A befitting farewell celebration honored Naomi’s life on May 7, 2022. The country star provided specific instructions on how she wanted her funeral to go. She even picked out her casket before her death. The singer chose a variety of performances, ranging from country to rock to gospel, to fill the private funeral service.

Ashley shared that her mom had the whole service written down, so they didn’t have to go through the guesswork. Dolly Parton, a fellow singer, icon, and Naomi’s friend, attended. She said a heartwarming and comforting message about family in her welcome note. 

CMT (Country Music Television) broadcasted this service, with several distinguished country music artists delivering performances during the occasion. Some of them were Brandi Carlile, The Imperials, Ricky Skaggs, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Salma Hayek gave heartfelt testimonials at the service.

Many worldwide cherished Naomi and her daughters have persistently upheld her legacy through their careers.

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