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OBITUARIES | Joyce 'Dottie' Rambo, 1934 - 2008

Gospel songwriter's work was recorded by Parton, Presley

May 12, 2008|From the Associated Press

Joyce "Dottie" Rambo, an influential gospel singer and songwriter, died early Sunday when her tour bus ran off a highway and struck an embankment. She was 74.

Seven other people on the bus were injured in the accident, which occurred about two miles east of Mount Vernon, Mo., on Interstate 44, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

They were hospitalized in Springfield, Mo., with moderate to severe injuries, authorities said.

It was unclear whether the crash was related to the severe storms and tornadoes that hit the region Saturday.

Storms also swept through the area later in the night, according to the National Weather Service.

Rambo, of Nashville, was scheduled to play a Mother's Day performance in Texas, according to her website.

"She was a giant in the gospel music industry," said Beckie Simmons, Rambo's agent. "Dolly Parton recorded some of her songs."

Parton sent condolences to "everyone involved in this terrible tragedy."

"I know Dottie is in heaven in the arms of God right now, but our earth angel will surely be missed," Parton said in a statement.

"Dottie was a dear friend, a fellow singer, songwriter and entertainer, and as of late my duet singing partner," Parton said.

Rambo was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last year and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

Rambo has hundreds of published songs, including gospel classics such as "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need" and the 1982 Gospel Music Assn. song of the year, "We Shall Behold Him."

Her songs were recorded by Parton and others, including Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, the Oak Ridge Boys and Barbara Mandrell.

Rambo was born Joyce Reba Lutrell in Madisonville, Ky., on March 2, 1934.

She learned to play guitar as a girl while listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio.

At the age of 12, she became a born-again Christian and, against the wishes of her father, began performing her songs.

She left home by age 16 and met Buck Rambo at a revival meeting.

They married and performed for years as the Singing Rambos. Their marriage ended in divorce.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

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