Singer Arlo Guthrie says wife, Jackie, has died

Read an updated version of this story here.

WASHINGTON, Mass. (AP) -- Folk singer Arlo Guthrie has announced the death of his wife, Jackie, at age 68.

An obituary released by Guthrie's record label says Jackie Guthrie had inoperable cancer and died Sunday at the couple's winter home in Sebastian, Fla. They had recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary.

In a Facebook posting, Guthrie says his relationship with his wife was "a very great love."

The couple also shared a home in Washington. Guthrie's Facebook page says he's cancelling or postponing some upcoming shows and will begin a planned tour in Canada next week.

Jackie Guthrie grew up in Malibu, Calif., and met Arlo Guthrie in 1968 while she was working as a cashier in a famous Hollywood club, The Troubador.

She is survived by five children and 10 grandchildren.


Here is the obituary written for Jackie Guthrie, Arlo's wife, who passed away on Sunday; the piece was sent to The Eagle on Tuesday by Rising Son Records at The Guthrie Center in Housatonic.

Jackie Guthrie July 25, 1944-Oct. 14, 2012

Jackie Guthrie, wife of folksinger Arlo Guthrie, passed away Oct. 14 in their winter home in Sebastian, Fla. She had been ill since July and diagnosed with inoperable cancer in early September. Arlo and Jackie were married Oct. 9, 1969. Their marriage was headline news, and pictures of their wedding were published in newspapers and magazines around the world, including National Geographic.

Jackie and Arlo recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary together with family and friends.

Jackie was from Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in Malibu, Calif., where, as a 17-year-old beauty, she was voted “Miss Malibu.” She fled the attention, preferring to stay out of the spotlight.

Jackie and Arlo met in 1968 when she was working as a cashier in Hollywood's famous club The Troubadour where Arlo was scheduled to perform for two weeks. After the two-week engagement, Arlo stayed on for another two-week stint to fill in for Neil Young who had to cancel.

During that gig, and before they'd met, Jackie walked into the dressing room and told Arlo's step-brother Richard Cooper, “You know, I'm going to marry your brother.”

1969 was a pivotal year: In August, Arlo played the famous Woodstock Festival; in September, they purchased The Farm, a 250-acre property in Washington; in October, they were married on their front lawn; and in November, the movie “Alice's Restaurant” was released.

Through the years they raised four children, Abe, Cathy, Annie, and Sarah Lee, who would all grow up to become entertainers in their own rights. Over the last few years, The Guthrie Family toured together with all of the kids and grandkids while Jackie assumed the role of videographer. She filmed every show and posted the best to her own “Mrs. G's Videos” on the family company website

Over 250 videos went up on YouTube, where she had over 10 million hits and thousands of friends awaiting her latest productions.

Jackie, Arlo, and their children were connected to Kashi Ashram — an inter-faith teaching, founded by their guru and dear friend, Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. Ma passed away earlier this year from a similar illness. The Guthrie Center Interfaith Church in Great Barrington is an extension of Kashi and continues to serve in the spirit of Ma's teachings. Jackie and Arlo accompanied Ma throughout the past 25 years on her visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and other health-related facilities to bring their laughter, cookies, attention and maybe a song to those hidden away or in need of a simple kindness.

During the summer of 2012, The Guthrie Family went on tour celebrating the centennial birthday of Woody Guthrie. While touring, she became weak, barely able to handle the cameras, but she refused to leave the road and seek medical attention.

She was committed to doing what she loved most, making films of her husband, children and grandchildren. As the summer tour came to a close, she was scarcely able to walk, and in early September she was diagnosed with a non-operable cancer.

Jackie was a crusader for social causes, mostly health care issues as she had survived breast cancer for over 12 years. She wrote extensively on natural foods and medicines, advocating their use over synthetic and toxic creations. She encouraged people everywhere to pursue healthier lifestyles. She lived long enough to celebrate her 43rd anniversary with her entire family on hand. Jackie passed away a few days later at peace with the life and dreams she shared with her husband and family.

“We want to acknowledge the doctors, nurses, and caregivers whom she befriended; the thousands of known and unknown friends from all over the world who prayed and wished us well, and mostly our children who attended her so gently and beautifully as she prepared to leave this world. We are grateful for our life together and thankful for the moments we shared,” Arlo Guthrie

Jackie is survived by her husband Arlo; her children, Abe, Cathy, Annie, Sarah Lee and Erika; her grandchildren, Krishna, Mo, Serena, Jacklyn, Olivia, Marjorie, Sophia, Roberta, Jorge and Alexa; her brother Robert Hyde; and her sisters Juanita Zaderecki and Shirley Spurlin.

Arlo Guthrie's website:


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