Dolly Parton has never been one to mince words. The sweet-as-sugar country music icon makes it known when she agrees with something and when she wholeheartedly disapproves. This type of direct, yet kind, Southern nature was one of the many things she inherited from her father, Robert Lee Parton.
Sadly, Robert passed away on November 19, 2000, and Dolly misses him every single day. While this topic is one she usually keeps private, Dolly couldn’t help but gush about her father during several interviews since his passing…
When Good Housekeeping asked Dolly who she most looked up to in the world, she didn’t hesitate with her response. The big-haired, soft-voiced superstar said:
“My father, who couldn’t read or write. He was from a big country family, and most kids worked in the fields rather than going to school. He felt inadequate, but he was such a smart, good human being.”
Not being able to read or write didn’t stop Robert from being a decent human being and an excellent father. But Dolly didn’t stop there when it came to spilling the beans about her father’s true nature.
She was proud that when no one was looking, her father did the right thing. This drive to stay on the straight and narrow path was something Dolly saw all the time growing up – but when he passed away, her family shared yet another example of his kindness.
Dolly recounted the story during an interview onJimmy Kimmel Live!, saying:
“After my dad died, one of my brothers told me that daddy used to put a big bucket, a big oil drum, of soapy water and a broom in the back of his truck and late at night he’d go down to the statue and scrub all the pigeon poop off [the statue]. It touched me. I cried my eyes out!
My daddy’s gone but the pigeons are still there – I’m not sure who is doing that now.”
Even though her father is in Heaven, Dolly knows she’ll see him again one day. But for now, she has the fond memories and stories to smile back on when missing him gets to be too much.
Watch Dolly talk about her late father here. She’s such a strong, inspirational woman!