Music executive Frances Williams Preston has died in Nashville at age 83. According to BMI.com, she passed away Wednesday morning of congestive heart failure.
Preston established BMI’s Nashville’s offices in 1958 and led the entire performance rights organization from 1986 to 2004. There she represented the catalogs of everyone from Paul Simon and Johnny Cash to Carole King and Dolly Parton according to The Tennessean. Preston was the first female executive on Nashville’s Music Row and the first female corporate executive in Tennessee too. She was also instrumental in helping Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard maximize their opportunities as songwriters as well.
Preston was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. She was also a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees Award.
Preston’s philanthropic work led to the founding of the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. She was also active in raising funds for the T.J. Martell Foundation.
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