Reba McEntire has been a formidable performer ever since she first visited a stage in the late 1970s, earning the reputation as a true country diva in the process. She rapidly became a fan favourite thanks to her extraordinary talent and the captivating grin that endeared her to millions of people. Her remarkable talent also captivated spectators.
Reba has been married twice in her lifetime, and her only child is a son named Shelby. She is very proud of being a mother. Her individual journey, on the other hand, has not been devoid of its share of emotional setbacks.
In 2022, Reba had to deal with the heartbreak of watching her cherished mother, Jacqueline, pass away from cancer. The mother and daughter had a bond that was very strong and filled with affection for one another; hence, Jacqueline’s passing created a hole that was impossible to replace. Reba shared her feelings about her sister’s passing on social media, writing, “She had a wonderful, full, healthy life and was absolutely ready to go.” [She] was definitely ready to go. The cancer may believe it has won the battle, but we are giving all the credit to God for determining the right time for her to go home to be with Him.
In her earlier years, Jacqueline had the ambition of having a successful career as a singer. Despite the fact that her personal life did not take her to the stage, Jacqueline instilled a love of music in her daughter. Reba’s natural ability was fostered by her, and it would go on to become one of the pillars of Reba’s remarkable career. Reba stated with warmth, “She left knowing how much love there is for her, and we all know how much she loved each and every one of us.” We are all going to miss her very much, but we will always have these great memories of her.
However, the loss of Jacqueline was not the first time Reba had to endure emotional anguish in her life. Reba and her loved ones suffered an unspeakable loss on March 16, 1991, more than three decades ago, when an aeroplane carrying seven members of her band and her manager was involved in a tragic accident and all eight people aboard perished.
The band had just finished playing a show in San Diego and was on their way to their next performance in Fort Wayne, which was going to be in Indiana. Reba and her husband at the time elected to spend the night in San Diego rather than travel on the same plane as their original plans called for them to do so. Tragically, the plane that was carrying her band and only 10 miles after takeoff was involved in a crash.
Even though many years have passed since that tragic day, Reba has never stopped remembering and honouring the members of her band who were dear to her but are no longer with us.
Reba recalled the event with profound sadness in an interview she gave to Oprah in 2012. She said, “The tip of the airplane’s wing hit a rock on the side of Otay Mountain, and it killed everyone on the plane.”
She went on to describe how she found out the news, thinking back to the moment she did so: “Narvel, Reba’s manager, went and met with our pilot, and he told us what had happened.” And Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was staying — it was between two and three in the morning — and he told that one of the planes had crashed, and I asked, ‘Are they OK?’ He responded by saying, “I don’t think so.” I questioned them by asking, “But you’re not sure?” “He responded, ‘I don’t think so.'”
As she continued to speak, the tears began to fill up in her eyes. “Narvel was going room to room with a phone and phoning… I’m sorry, but even though it’s been twenty years, it still feels like… I don’t think the pain ever goes away.”
In the year 2020, Reba reflected on the tragedy and paid her respects to the souls of those who had passed away by saying, “29 years ago today, I lost my friends in a plane crash.” It seems fitting that Mama should have passed away on the same day as that milestone anniversary. I have no doubt that all of them are reunited in heaven and looking out for one another. Let’s keep looking for new ways to look out for each other here on earth, and let’s make it a point to treasure every moment we spend with our loved ones without ever taking them for granted.
In the year 2023, Reba once more communicated her feelings, reiterating her unending sorrow for the horrible end that befell her companions and the loss that they had to experience. She shared a video on social media of one of the band’s concerts, captioning it with the following: “Their love for music and the stage gives us all the strength to go on.”
Reba’s devoted followers came together in an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity when the singer was hospitalised. One of Reba’s fans sent her an email in which they said, “Reba, I’ve always loved your music, and we both come from a horse background. I’m now following you on Instagram.” I will say some prayers for both you and your mother. The outpouring of love and comprehension is illustrative of the connection that Reba has with her audience, a relationship that extends beyond the stage and takes her closer to the hearts of her fans.
The journey that Reba McEntire has taken through life, with all of its successes and failures, is a monument to both her resiliency and the undying ability of music to mend wounds and lift the spirit of its listeners.