Jerry Clower was a popular country comedian best known for his stories of the rural South and his nickname “The Mouth of Mississippi”. He was also a devout Christian who often shared his testimony of faith in his shows and books. But how did Jerry Clower die and what impact did he have on the world of comedy and beyond?
Early Life and Career
Jerry Clower was born in Liberty, Mississippi, on September 28, 1926. He grew up in Amite County among family and friends who became the source of his funny routines. He served in the Navy after graduating from high school in 1944 and then studied agriculture at Mississippi State University, where he played college football and joined Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He married Doris Homerline Wells in 1947 and they had four children together.
Clower worked as a county agent, a seed salesman, and a fertilizer salesman for Mississippi Chemical in 1954. He developed a reputation for telling hilarious stories to boost his sales and entertain his customers. In 1970, a local DJ in Lubbock, Texas, heard one of his tapes and encouraged him to pursue comedy as a profession. He sent the tape to MCA Records, who offered Clower a recording contract.
Clower’s first comedy album, Jerry Clower from Yazoo City (Mississippi Talkin’), was released in 1971. It became a word-of-mouth hit and climbed into the top 20 of the country album chart. He released more than 30 albums over his career, many of them reaching gold or platinum status. His single most famous routine was “Coon Huntin’ Story”, but he was also known for his tales about the colorful characters in the fictional Ledbetter family.
Fame and Faith
Clower became a national star with his appearances on country-themed television shows, especially on the Grand Ole Opry, where he was inducted in 1973. He also hosted his own syndicated show and radio show for a time. He wrote four books: Ain’t God Good!, Let the Hammer Down, Life Everlaughter, and Peaches & Possums to Clanton, Alabama, with love, Jerry Clower. The first book was also made into a documentary film about his life.
Clower was not only a comedian, but also a Baptist layman who used his platform to share his faith in Christ. He often concluded his shows with a testimony of how he became a Christian at age 13 during a revival meeting at East Fork Baptist Church in Smithdale, Mississippi. He also supported various Christian causes and organizations, such as the Agricultural Missions Foundation, which supports overseas agricultural missionaries and projects.
Clower once said: “I am convinced that there is only one place where there is no laughter, and that’s hell.” He believed that humor was a gift from God and that laughter was good for the soul. He also said: “If God gave me the ingredients and told me to make a woman, I’d make her just like my wife.” He was married to Homerline for 51 years until his death.
Death and Legacy
Clower died on August 24, 1998, at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson after undergoing heart bypass surgery five days earlier. He was 71 years old. He was buried at East Fork Cemetery in Smithdale.
Clower left behind a legacy of laughter and faith that influenced many people, especially in the South. He was one of the most popular country comedians of all time and one of the most respected Christian entertainers. His albums and books are still available today and his stories are still enjoyed by fans of all ages.
According to Wikipedia, Clower was awarded posthumously the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Lifetime Achievement in 1999. He was also honored by Mississippi State University with an endowed scholarship fund in his name for students majoring in agriculture or related fields.
Jerry Clower cause of death may have taken him away from this world, but his humor and faith live on in his works and in the hearts of those who loved him. As he once said: “Ain’t God good!”