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Getty images | Instagram/Katherine Williams-Dunning
Source: Getty images | Instagram/Katherine Williams-Dunning

Hank Williams Jr Lost Wife of 31 Years & Daughter within 2 Years — Both Deaths Were Accidental

Esther NJeri
Jul 29, 2022
12:40 P.M.
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Hank Williams Jr. was ecstatic when he met and married his wife, Mary Jane Thomas. Years later, he suffered an immense loss when his 27-year-old daughter and his wife of 35 years died only two years apart. Their deaths were both listed as accidental.

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Celebrated country singer Hank Williams Jr. met the love of his life, former Hawaiian suntan lotion model Mary Jane Thomas, in 1985 at one of his concerts in Washington State.

Five years later, they walked down the aisle at the University Congregational Church in Missoula, Montana, surrounded by 50 of their close friends and family.

Hank Williams Jr. and wife Mary Jane Williams attend 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 10, 1989 at Disney Studios in Burbank, California. | Source: Getty Images

Hank Williams Jr. and wife Mary Jane Williams attend 24th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 10, 1989 at Disney Studios in Burbank, California. | Source: Getty Images

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In the years following their wedding, the pair welcomed two children. They had their first, Katherine Diana, in 1993, followed by Sam Weston four years later.

The "Family Tradition" singer is also father to son Shelton with his first wife, Gwen Yeargain, and two daughters, Holly and Hilary, with his second wife, Becky White.

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Holly, Hillary, and Sam followed in their father's musical footsteps and are all renowned musicians. Shelton performs under the name Hank Williams III and is a famous country and punk rock performer.

Of his five kids, only William's youngest daughter Katherine did not take after her father. She has, however, made a name for herself in the fashion industry and runs a clothing brand company.

A SPECIAL FATHER-DAUGHTER BOND

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Even though she did not follow in his footsteps like all his other children, Katherine shared the closest bond with her father and would often describe herself as a daddy's girl.

In May 2020, Katherine posted a throwback photo as a child in her father's arm for her dad's birthday. She captioned the photo sweetly, writing:

"A throwback to show y'all that I have always been a daddy's girl."

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She referred to her father as her hero and revealed that the lessons she had learned from him were the most precious gifts she would ever receive.

In addition to being a daddy's girl, Katherine was also a loving wife and a caring mother to her children. She married her husband, Tyler Dunning, in 2015 after dating for seven years and had two children, her son Beau Weston and her daughter Audrey Jane.

Katherine was always outspoken about her motherhood journey and would chronicle her experiences on her Instagram page. She would often share the ups and downs of her journey, from fertility issues to her children's tiniest milestones.

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In 2014, she featured on an episode on the 7th season of the TLC bridal reality show "Say Yes To The Dress" when searching for her ideal gown in readiness for her 2015 wedding with Dunning.

Williams also appeared in the episode to help his daughter find her choice of wedding gown. She finally settled on a "Fantine" dress and looked gorgeous as she exchanged vows with Dunning the following year.

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Away from family, Katherine ran a clothing company, Weston Jane, that featured her mother's name and strived to support and build moms up in a world where women and moms were often criticized and put down.

Sadly, her bustling life was cut short in June 2020 when she and her husband got involved in a tragic accident that left her dead and her husband badly injured. The mother of two was only 27.

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According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson, their SUV, towing a boat, crossed the central reservation area on the highway and rolled over before stopping on the shoulder.

The news of her passing shocked everyone, and her siblings paid tribute to her memory by writing beautiful notes. They remembered her for her impact on their and everyone's lives. Her sister Holly posted a family photo, accompanied by the caption:

"I have no words. On Friday morning, I talked the family into taking this picture and had no idea it would be our last together with my precious little sister Katie."

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Following his daughter's tragic demise, the "Heaven Can't Be Found" singer began spending more time with his son-in-law and grandchildren.

Late last year, he posted a photo of him and his grandson as he taught him to hunt for doves. Then earlier this year, he posted another with his son-in-law and grandchildren hunting deers.

ANOTHER DEVASTATING LOSS

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In March 2022, the "Lovesick Blues" singer suffered another devastating loss. He lost his wife to an accident during a medical procedure. When TMZ first announced the sad news, it was unclear what the exact cause of death was.

The "All My Rowdy Friends" singer was devastated! He took to Twitter to pay tribute to his lovely wife and partner of 38 years, writing:

"38 wonderful years she gave me. Her kind spirit and beautiful and endearing love carry on in the hearts of our son Sam, grandsons Beau and Tennyson, and granddaughter Audrey Jane."

THE CAUSE OF DEATH REVEALED

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Four months after she died, the cause of her death was finally revealed. According to an autopsy report obtained by People, Mary Jane had suffered a complication following a medical procedure.

She had traveled to Jupiter, Florida, to get liposuction and have previous breast implants removed by Bafitis Plastic Surgery. Unfortunately, the elective surgery procedure did not go as expected, and she suffered a punctured lung.

Mary Jane Thomas and 2020 inductee Hank Williams Jr. seen during the 2021 Medallion Ceremony, celebrating the Induction of the Class of 2020 at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on November 21, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee | Source: Getty Images

Mary Jane Thomas and 2020 inductee Hank Williams Jr. seen during the 2021 Medallion Ceremony, celebrating the Induction of the Class of 2020 at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on November 21, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee | Source: Getty Images

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According to the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's report, Mary Jane was released from the facility on the evening of March 21, after which she checked into a recovery facility. She appeared to recover well and even sat up in bed, speaking typically.

However, things worsened the following day when the medics saw she'd suddenly become unresponsive. The report says they rushed her to a local hospital, but she passed on in the emergency room.

Williams had lost his beloved wife barely two years after losing his incredible daughter, with whom he shared a very close bond.

While it is hard to imagine the pain he has endured in the last months, he has only kind words to say about her and is confident many who knew and loved her will miss her immensely.

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