Songwriter Who Penned 'The Long Black Veil,' Dead At 86

Monday, October 30th 2006, 6:22 am
By: News On 6

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The woman who helped pen such classics as "The Long Black Veil" and "One Day at a Time," has died.

Marijohn Wilkin died Saturday at the age of 86.

Wilkin had learned last year that her 2003 triple-bypass heart operation had failed and that she was not a candidate for another procedure.

Wilkin was a founder of the Nashville Songwriters Association, a nonprofit group that advocates for songwriters. She's also credited with discovering Kris Kristofferson.

Born Marijohn Melson in Texas, she was the grandchild of a country fiddler and learned to play piano as a child. After graduating from college, she became a schoolteacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and started writing songs for her choir.

Wilkin moved to Nashville in 1958 and was signed as a songwriter by Cedarwood Publishing.

She and Danny Dill composed "The Long Black Veil" in 1959, which was recorded by Lefty Frizzell. "One Day at a Time" was a hit for Marilyn Sellers and Cristy Lane.