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Dolly Parton used her late father’s old truck to honor him after he died. Before his death, she wanted to make him proud of her and perhaps pay him back for some of their unforgettable moments. So, she bought him a truck he loved so much he would never have traded, and she kept it as a tribute to him when he was gone.

Dolly Parton for "Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas."
Dolly Parton | Katherine Bomboy/NBC/Getty Images

Dolly Parton had a proud father

Parton once shared a story illustrating how proud of his country music star daughter her father, Robert Lee Parton, was — even if he teased her a little. “Daddy used to go down to the courthouse where they had erected a statue of me,” she said (Apple Fitness+ Time to Walk experience via People). She added, “I remember myself being so proud of that statue. … I thought, ‘A statue of me in the courthouse yard? That’s usually reserved for presidents and people that have done really great things like that.'”

“So I went home and I said, ‘Daddy did you know, they’re putting a statue of me … down at the courthouse?’ And Daddy said, ‘Well yeah, I heard about that,'” she went on. “And he said, ‘Now to your fans out there you might be some sort of an idol. But to them pigeons, you ain’t nothing but another outhouse.”

However, that statue was more than a punchline. She said he would take “a bucket of soapy water in the back of his pick-up truck” to clean it at night. “That touched me so much,” she shared. “I loved my daddy and wanted him to be proud of himself, as I was proud of him.”

Robert Lee Parton died in 2000 at age 79.

Dolly Parton kept a truck she bought for her father as a tribute to him

In 2015, Parton spoke with Billboard about her relationship with her mom and dad, revealing she bought her father a truck once she could afford it. “I loved my daddy and my mama. My daddy always drove a truck. I bought my daddy a big blue truck, and he was always so proud of that,” she explained.

Parton added, “He never would trade it in. He kept it. The truck is still very much in the family today. Daddy’s gone now, but I still have the truck. It’s on some of the property that I bought that daddy used to own.”

“I was always proud that I could do for my family when I started making some money,” she noted.

Dolly Parton’s country music career wasn’t the thing her dad was most proud of


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Parton also started her Imagination Library project to honor her father since he was illiterate. She asked him to help her launch it in 1995, and they began in Sevier County, Tennessee, where she grew up. The program now sends books to children in need worldwide.

According to the country music star, her father was more proud of her work with that charity than her country music career (People).

In 2022, the global program was mailing two million books monthly (per Imagination Library).