He lived in my community for a long time (Redding, Palo Cedro). I always had good experiences when I would run into him or his family or sell them sports equipment. He cruised around in a white Hummer. I met one of his previous neighbors today and she said he was an a-hole for asking her daughter to serve cocktails on their houseboat all night, topless for $200, haha. I was never his neighbor but definitely enjoyed his music.
His son Ben said that Merle told him that he will die on his birthday, which he did. The articles have been flowing lately with all the local media outlets. Here is one from the local paper. RIP Oakie from Muskogee