She was a huge inspiration to Alan's career and music.  Mrs. Ruth Jackson – known to her family, friends and country music fans the world over simply as “Mama Ruth” – died yesterday morning, peacefully at her Georgia home. She was 86.

Mama Ruth married "Daddy Gene" when she was just 16 years old and had 5 children, including Alan.

According to Alan Jackson't website, Mama Ruth inspired Jackson’s gospel collection, Precious Memories, which he recorded as a Mother’s Day gift to her with no intention of ever being made into a commercial release. And  his  second Christmas album, Let It Be Christmas, was because she wanted to hear her son record some of the holiday’s traditional  classics.

Alan also told the story of his parents’ early years as a couple  in “Home,” describing their house built around an old tool shed that Mama Ruth lived in for 70 years until the day she died!

“My mama raised five children – four girls, and there was me.

She found her strength in faith in God and a love of family.

She never had a social life; home was all she knew

Except the time she took a job to pay a bill or two.”

-Alan Jackson, "Home"

Alan Jackson Country Music Hall of Fame
Brent N. Clarke, Getty Images

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