Born in 1932 in Pampa, Texas, Cleda Ann Rich earned a spirited fanbase of her own in recent years, often appearing with Rich in public (and usually stealing the spotlight). At last year’s CMA Fest, for example, she delighted fans by joining her grandson to release a special “Granny Rich Reserve” of Rich’s Redneck Riviera Whiskey, and was widely beloved as a hard-working, salt-of-the-earth character with a warm heart — and a love of whiskey sipping at a day’s end. She spent the last 20 years of her life as the owner and operator of an alterations shop outside Nashville, and gave Rich’s whiskey brand her stamp of approval in 2018.
“She slammed the whole thing back and said, ‘Well John Daniel, I think you’ve rung the bell with this!’” he told Sounds Like Nashville at the time. “So it’s Granny Rich-approved.”
“Granny Rich lived through the Great Depression, The Dust Bowl Days, WWII, and many bouts of personal struggles in her life but managed to always persevere and work toward a better future for herself and everyone she loved,” Rich said in a statement. “She was a fierce Patriot and expressed her love for our country loud and clear. Her work ethic is legendary, as she ran her own business on her own terms up until one month before she passed away at 88 years of age. She is an inspiration to me and anyone who had the pleasure of meeting her and will be sorely missed. She gave her life to Jesus many decades ago, so I have peace in knowing she is now in the arms of Jesus. I’m sure there’s a line of angels waiting on her to sew some golden thread into their heavenly apparel! Rest in peace, Granny. You will always be ‘The Queen of the working class.’ Job well done.”