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Jo Jo Billingsley, One Of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Original "Honkettes" Dies

Jo Jo Billingsley, one of Lynryd Skynyrd’s original “Honkettes”, died this morning after a year long battle with cancer. In December 1975,
Jojo was hired along with Cassie Gaines and Leslie Hawkins, to be a backup singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The group’s leader Ronnie Van Zant dubbed them “The Honkettes”.

In the October 20, 1977 airplane crash that killed several members of the band and road crew, Billingsley was not on the flight. JoJo stated that she had a dream two nights before the plane crashed foreseeing the crash. She attempted to warn the other band members not to get on the plane. According to JoJo, it led her to undergo a religious conversion.

“Jojo was an amzingly talented singer and a great person and I’m going to miss her” says music industry vet, Mike Kinnamon.

Jo Jo Left the music industry 1980, became a born again christian and then an evangelist in Alabama, as Deborah Jo Billingsley White. Jo Jo is survived by her husband, Timothy White and their two children.

Contact: jerry@nashville.com

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34 comments to Jo Jo Billingsley, One Of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Original “Honkettes” Dies

  • The “Honkettes” were a big part of that “Skynyrd Sound”.

  • Mike Zlotnicki

    She’s gone Home to see Ronnie, Allen, Leon, Billy, Steve and Cassie…Rest In Peace Jo Jo.

  • Brian

    Debra Jo will be greatly missed. Her voice and talents touched many hearts. Heaven’s gain and our loss.

  • Jo Jo will be missed by so many. She was just the sweetest person, and very close to the Lord. The world lost a wonderful person today, but Heaven gained an angel!

  • Annie O.

    Chatted with her on Myspace…..Wonderful Woman.. I’ll miss her!

  • GH

    An angel yes!!! She was a friend and I thank her for that.

  • Pam

    I had the distinct pleasure of performing with JoJo and Artimus (and the Lond Island Street Survivors) in Virginia for GrahamFest 2009 last Labor Day weekend. She was an amazingly talented woman, humble and gracious, with a beautifully tight-knit family. I also had the pleasure of meeting husband Tim and daughter Destiny and my heart goes out to all of you. I know what a tremendous loss this is for your family. And for us. She will be sorely missed. xoxox to you Jo-Jo – you’re a real rockin’ angel now, baby!!!

  • You wrote Love ya on your album for me JoJo, we All love you too.

  • Patrick Marlin Laney

    I will miss you jojo! I know you are with Jesus Singing his praise as only you can! Rock on!

  • JoJo was a good friend and a sweet sweet spirit. Heaven is all the more richer to have her, but I will really miss our long phone conversations. And while she honored me singing on my last album, she and I had plans for a duet on the next one. Wasn’t meant to be. God needed her in the heavenly band. Love you Jo.

  • Jeff Peterson

    Goodby Jo Jo you were the best. May you rest in peace. See you on the other side.

  • another free bird>>>>>>>

  • Theresa Edgil

    My heart was deeply grieved when I heard about your passing even though I know you are in a much better place, now. God bless your family and those that you have ministered to over the years. Goodbye, until we meet again.

  • GABINO

    Jo jo eres un angel, hermosa

  • I got one of Jo Jo CD’s and she got a Allen Collins band CD from me I am selling them for Roll4Rock. Jo Jo was a great person and will be greatley missed Allen Collins & Bill Massey started Roll4Rock and Bill kept it going after Allen died we
    have CD’s & Roll4Rock hat’s we spohnser wheelchair games & Benifit concerts. Rest in Peace Jo Jo
    with Love
    Steve Cook
    our websites are
    http://www.Allencollins.com
    http://www.Rol4Rock.com
    http://www.fernandinawildman@myspace.com on google & yahoo -Allen collins fans

  • Robert

    I had to meet and interact with JoJo in the last few years. I am sorry to hear this, she was a very sweet, wonderful person. And if you’ve ever seen Freebird the Movie, she just about steals the spotlight from Ronnie a few times!

  • Dale

    GOD BLESS YOU JO JO !! Alwayz in our hearts!! :-)

  • JoJo was an excellent singer with strong stage presence and quite a character. Had the pleasure of exchanging quite a few messages and e-mails with her. Our planned interview never materialized due to her illness but enough good info came to light for a decent blog/obit. She was one of a kind and it was a pleasure to cross paths with her, even if it was limited to Cyberspace.

  • The Crawdaddy band would like to send our deepest condolences to Jo Jo,s family, we had the pleasure of doing a few gigs with her, she was truly a class act and great lady, she will forever live on with the timeless music of Lynyrd Skynyrd and all of us who knew her, rest in peace sweet lady…Bryan, lead singer, Crawdaddy band

  • Maynard Tomczyk

    July 7th 1977 Dane County Coliseum

    Invited myself to Concourse Hotel in Madison,Wi where Skynyrd was
    staying for gig that night.
    To make a long but beautiful story short ,I ended up in lobby coffee
    shop with ALLEN COLLINS(Whom i specifically came to meet)and
    beautiful,full of life,vivaciousJO JO!
    After alot of idol worship chit chat and even some laughs’ Jo
    nudged Allen and said GIVE HIM SOME BACKSTAGE TICKETS BABY!
    HE LOVES YOU!
    Again to make it short Allen did just that and i was backstage
    that night at foot of stage behind PA watching Skynyrd play
    songs from Street Survivors which wasnt even released quite yet!
    I loved you for that Jo Jo and never forgot what you did and what a crush i had on you
    So sorry to hear news of your passing GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

    P.S. If anyone would care to hear all of this beautiful story dont hesitate to call as JO,Allen,and all of Skynyrd lives proudly on for me daily! Maynard 414.329 0987 (i hate computers)

  • Great story Maynard!

  • Destiny White

    I love you mommy! and i miss you terribly!!!!!!

  • Terri Ferguson

    My kids think I am stuck in the past. 1974 I graduated from High School in Oregon and Sweet Home Alabama is my song… it is my cell phone ring and everyone knows me by that song. Jo Jo has been an image in my head of her with the wild dress in the back ground … back up singer … I danced and imitated her to that song forever … she will be forever missed ! I can’t believe she was only 58 … I am 54 this year and can’t believe she was 21 when she made such an impact on me. I am sad.

  • Sharleen Valentine

    To Destiny White:

    Your Mommy will always live on in you (and her music and in others too) and all of your memories you have – no one can ever take that away. A lot of people miss her a whole lot but she is on the Otherside now and will be there waiting for when our time comes to see her again.

    Peace n Lovc to you,
    Rev. Valentine

  • christi

    jojo,ronnie,steve,cassie,allen,leon,billy jammin out in rock&roll heaven southern natives will never forget.they are immortal.

  • Lee

    WOW!!! I didn’t know. I missed this somehow. I’m speechless.

  • john cushnaghan

    JoJo I watch you every night, and although the band were great, you helped make the band what it was!!!!

    You are a star, and even at 60 years old, I will never stop watching your performances, until I finally get to meet with you.

    R.I.P. JoJo a shining light for us all.

    John xx

  • I met you, Jo Jo, online, shortly after joining MySpace. Developing Steve Gaines first website for Teresa, I felt as if I knew you, Cassie and Steve through all the pictures I lived with during that time, as well as through the many stories told by Teresa, Judy, Billy Powell and finally through you as we had intimate telephone conversations after only a few emails back and forth. Even through that distant and limited encounter, your strength and beauty was so striking and welcome. You shared such painful events with me, I will always feel very honored. God Bless You Jo Jo, look down upon us until we meet again. You will leave a void on earth, something for others to strive for.

  • Jeff Iaconis

    Just happened to be on line and type in Jo-Jo’s name on a whim. Was totally hurt when I had found out she had passed away a little over a year ago. Saw Skynyrd once way back in 77 and they were always one of my favorite bands. Along with the rest of the Boys (and girls) in the band, Woud like to include Duane, Barry and Stevie along as in the alltime great southern bands doing gigs up in Heaven right now!!! Love you Jo-Jo

    God Bless…

  • Blues Cruzer

    When I was very young RVZ took me under his wing-I was allowed to be baskstage/dressing rooms with the band. Jo Jo would always talk with me , usually right before she went onstage. Later in 1993 I met her again & she remembered me. I thought she was a great lady & deeply admire her work in prison ministries , she is missed.

  • Rhonda Owens

    i met JOJO years ago and she was the sweetest person i ever knew. (i remember she did a interview on the 700 club and asked me later if i thought she did ok..i thought after all the ppl she has performed in front of …this made her nervous…cute!!) she helped me though some very dark times when my ex was cheating and with my divorce…last time i heard from her she wasnt feeling well and they were doing tests and then came the diagnosis. we lost contact when my illness spun out of control. im bipolar and my meds were all wrong. i so regret not getting back to her…i miss the conversations we had…rest in peace my dear friend…i miss u so…

  • i am so very sorry to have just learn of jo jo’s passing, i didn’t know that she had passed away two years ago, i would like to say to her family that i am so sorry that they lost her and that i hope that durning her time on this earth that she was able to help a lot of needy people that were looking for gods help and they reached out to jo jo to help guide them in the right direction. from everything that i have read about her i would agree very much even though i have never meet her, i felt like i knew her that she was the most sweetest lady that you could ever have know, she sounded like the kind of person that would take the time and sit down with you have a coffee and talk with you and just be a friend. thats the kind of people that i have always liked to know if life. may she rest in peace. may god watch over her family and keep them safe.

  • Linda Snowden Darnold

    Miss JoJo as she was my favorite back up singer for LS. She was beautiful inside and out. She’s singing harmony with Ronnie again and all of the angels in heaven. RIP sweet soul till we meet in heaven.

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