Peggy Sue Gerron
| Peggy Sue Gerron Rackham
(Inspiration for the Buddy Holly 1957 song, "Peggy Sue")
|Born|| June 15, 1940 |
Olton, Lamb County
|Died|| October 1, 2018 (aged 78) |
|Spouse|| (1) Jerry Allison (married 1958, divorced)|
(2) Lynn Rackham
A native of rural Olton in Lamb County in west Texas, Gerron was a daughter of John Wellborn Gerron (1904-1963) and the former Lillie Ceclia Rieger (1910-2002). By the time that she entered high school, the family relocated to nearby Lubbock. The song was initially titled "Cindy Lou" after Holly's niece, but when released as "Peggy Sue". At the time the song was recorded, Gerron was dating Jerry Ivan Allison (born 1939), the drummer for Holly's band, The Crickets. The couple married after she graduated from Lubbock High School but later divorced. She attended Pasadena Junior College in Pasadena, California, and became a dental assistant. From a second marriage to Lynn B. Rackham (born 1939), she had a son and a daughter, Amanda Stathos. She helped her second husband to establish a successful plumbing business and became the first licensed woman plumber in California.
In 1995, Gerron Rackham returned to Lubbock to care for her aging mother, who died seven years later. She was a ham radio enthusiast. In the late 1990s, she was a frequent guest on radio station KDAV, which called itself "The Buddy Holly Station" though Holly never worked there. The station has since closed. She remained in Lubbock until her death there at the age of seventy-eight. A memorial service was held on October 13, 2018, at Lake Ridge Chapel and Memorial Designers in Lubbock. Her burial site is unknown, but her parents are interred at the Englewood Cemetery in Slaton, Texas.
The 1986 film, Peggy Sue Got Married, features actress Kathleen Turner as a 43-year-old "Peggy Sue" who faints during her 25th high school reunion, believes that she has returned to her past, and reconsiders some of her earlier decisions. In 2008, Gerron published an autobiography, Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?: A Memoir by Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue, 283 pages, to mark the 50th anniversary of the song. The book drew the threat of a lawsuit to prohibit publication from Holly's widow, Mary Elena Holly, who holds copyright through her company, Holly Properties. Mrs. Holly claimed that her husband never considered Gerron a friend. Gerron said that she had the right to write her book, which she claims was based on 150 diary entries.
- Peggy Sue Gerron Rackham. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on October 4, 2018.
- Ray Westbrook (October 1, 2018). Peggy Sue Gerron, inspiration for Buddy Holly song, dies. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved on October 4, 2018.
- Peggy Gerron "Peggy Sue" Rackham. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (October 4, 2018).
- Buddy Holly's Widow Threatens to Sue 'Peggy Sue' Over Book. Foxnews.com (January 13, 2015). Retrieved on October 6, 2018.