Remembering Linda Parker (The Little Sunbonnet Girl
(January 18, 1912 – August 12, 1935)
John Lair introduced his newest member of the Cumberland Ridge Runners to the WLS radio audience in 1932. Linda Parker, with her sweet and wholesome image, would come to be known by her adoring fans as The Little Sunbonnet Girl. In reality, Linda Parker was Jean Meunich, a struggling saloon singer and former juvenile delinquent who grew up in the shadow of the Hammond, Indiana steel mills. Producer John Lair discovered her—and transformed her. But on August 12, 1935, word reached the fans that twenty three year old Linda Parker had died suddenly, of appendicitis. The station was flooded with letters and poems, expressing sympathy and grief. Members of The Cumberland Ridge Runners - were pallbearers. Lair dedicated their song “We buried her beneath the willow” to the memory of the Little Sun Bonnet Girl.