The country icon’s private funeral took place on Haggard's property in Palo Cedro, CA., on Saturday April 9, 2016. Pallbearers included Haggard’s son Ben and nephew Jim. According to Marty Stuart, Haggard pre-planned his own service and at his request he was cremated. He was best known for hits including "Okie From Muskogee" and "Sing Me Back Home". He was 79 and died on his birthday of pneumonia, according to multiple news sources, including The Associated Press. More->
Merle Haggard's Boyhood Home
Merle returned to Oildale, CA just south of Bakersfield in January 2016 four months before his death to visit his childhood home. Workers wrere preparing the converted box car for moving to the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield. Video courtesy of KGET TV Bakersfield.
Read an excellent article on Merle, "Merle Haggard's breathing easier now!" written by Randy Lewis and published in the Los Angeles Times on January 31, 2009.
Merle Haggard's boyhood home was made from an old Santa Fe Railroad boxcar. According to Wikipedia Haggard’s parents, Flossie Mae (Harp) and James Francis Haggard, moved to California from their home in Checotah, Oklahoma, during the Great Depression after their barn burned in 1934. They settled with their children, Lowell and Lillian, in an apartment in Bakersfield, while James started working for the Santa Fe Railroad.
A woman who owned a boxcar located in Oildale CA. just south of Bakersfield asked Haggard’s father about the possibility of converting it into a home. He remodeled the boxcar and soon after moved in. The property was eventually expanded by building a bathroom, a second bedroom and a kitchen. It's where Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937.
Over the many decades since the Haggard family moved out of the boxcar house, others have owned it and/or lived there; but it eventually fell into a state of disrepair, to the point where it was in danger of being demolished as a hazard. Fortunately, a group of Merle’s friends, fans and other concerned citizens launched an effort to save and preserve Merle’s boyhood home from the bulldozer.
A website was created and funds were raised to purchase the home and move it to the grounds of Pioneer Village at the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield. In 2015, the structure was moved to the museum grounds where it continues to undergo restoration.