Jimmy Dean Dies

Jimmy Dean, a country music legend for his smash hit about a workingman hero, "Big Bad John," and an entrepreneur known for his sausage brand, has died. He was 81.

His wife, Donna Meade Dean, says her husband died at 7:54 p.m. Sunday at their Henrico County, Virginia, home, south of Richmond.

She tells The Associated Press that he had some health problems but was still functioning well, so his death came as a shock.

Born in 1928, Dean was raised in poverty in Plainview, Texas, and dropped out of high school after the ninth grade. But he went on to a successful entertainment career in the '50s and '60s.

In 1969, Dean went into the sausage business, starting the Jimmy Dean Meat Co. He sold the company to Sara Lee Corp. in 1984.

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  • by mindy on Jun 15, 2010 at 10:20 AM
    I always buy Jimmy Dean sausage. . .I'll think of him fondly everytime I eat sausage.
  • by Crabbby Pattie on Jun 15, 2010 at 04:51 AM
    A true southern gentleman. He will be missed!
  • by troopersargentmajor Location: Peach Tree NC on Jun 14, 2010 at 11:22 PM
    I liked to watch him on the show Daniel Boone.
  • by Stan Location: G''ville on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:43 PM
    "Poke" fun if you like, but the man had a lot of musical talent and had great business sense. Prayers to the family.
  • by irate Location: Greenville on Jun 14, 2010 at 02:21 PM
    I can remember thinking when he started his sausage business "ain't no way in the world he's gonna ever sell sausage". Imagine that his brand is one of the most popular in the country today. RIP Jimmy Dean.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Jun 14, 2010 at 08:21 AM
    Jimmy Dean is the man and a living legend. His music and his sausage are both awesome.
  • by debra on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:51 AM
    Prayers for the family.
  • by Crabbby Pattie on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:44 AM
    Goodbye to a True Southern Gentleman. There are so few of them left. God Bless his family.
  • by Dixiegirl929 on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:43 AM
    So sorry to hear that! I always buy his brand sausage and I am old enough to remember hearing that song one time!!! Bless him for his contributions!!
  • by The Sausage Man on Jun 14, 2010 at 05:01 AM
    May his sausage live on forever.
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