Loretta Lynn’s Ranch Foreman Wayne Spears Dies in Catastrophic Flooding
Loretta Lynn's Ranch is mourning the loss of its foreman, Wayne Spears, who died in the devastating floods that tore through the Middle Tennessee region. The Ranch shared the sad news on Sunday afternoon, along with a series of pictures and a remembrance of Spears.
"With the heaviest of hearts, we are saddened to report that our beloved foreman Wayne Spears did not survive being swept up in the flood waters," the post reads. "Wayne has been a family friend to the Lynns and a fixture to the Ranch for decades and we are all devastated by his passing."
The eulogy to Spears also celebrates his "ready smile, kind heart and willingness to go the extra mile for everyone around him," adding that he is an irreplaceable fixture on the Ranch. "Eventually we'll rebuild our community, our ranch, our lives and our homes, but only God could build a man like Wayne Spears. There's just no replacing that," it reads.
The tragic news comes in the wake of the Ranch's reporting the "worst flooding we have ever experienced" on Saturday (Aug. 21), after devastating flooding tore through the Middle Tennessee region. A post on the Rach's Facebook page describes a continuing crisis in Humphreys County, which is where the ranch is located and one of the hardest-hit areas by the flood.
Fox 17 News has reported catastrophic flooding across Humphreys, Houston, Dickson and Hickman Counties, with many water rescues and homes flooded. In addition to Spears' death, many more casualties have been reported across the affected counties as of Sunday afternoon (Aug. 22), with the total number of lives affected still rising. Among the dead are a pair of seven-month-old twin babies, who were swept away by the waters.
The National Weather Service reports that their rain gauge network recorded 17.02 inches of rainfall at McEwan, Tenn. That number easily bests the state's previous record for 24-hour total rainfall, which was 13.06 inches in Milan, Tenn, and took place on Sept. 13, 1982.
While Lynn's ranch has been severely affected by the floods, the singer herself is safe, according to a Facebook update posted to an official page run by her granddaughter, Tayla Lynn. However, the family appears to be continuing to grapple with the affects of the storm.
"This is Barb. Tayla only has limited text signal," the post reads. "Her family of 4 are safe along with Memaw [Lynn] and family. She asks that you Please keep their community in your prayers. This has been devastating and it's nowhere near over."
Additionally, video footage uploaded to a Perry County Severe Weather Twitter account shows just how hard the flooding has hit the Ranch, with raging waters tearing through the facility.
A popular tourist attraction in the Middle Tennessee area, Loretta Lynn's Ranch is one of the region's largest campgrounds, also featuring a full-service RV Park as well as primitive camping facilities and cabins. Other amenities include hiking, fishing, kayaking, volleyball, live music and many more special events.