Reba McEntire and her siblings were known as "the singing McEntire"
Reba McEntire has a lot of love for her siblings: sisters Alice Foran and Susie McEntire-Eaton and brother Pake McEntire.
Reba’s parents, Clark Vincent and Jacqueline Smith McEntire, raised their three daughters and son on their sprawling family farm in Oklahoma while Clark professionally competed in the rodeo circuit. Reba, Susie and Pake all took up singing in high school, thanks to Jacqueline, who instilled their passion for music at a ripe young age.
“By the time I got to junior high school, Pake, Susie, and I were singing more and more together around our house. Sometimes we were the entertainment when Mama and Daddy’s friends came over to play dominoes,” the singer wrote in her 1995 memoir, Reba: My Story. “Pake played acoustic rhythm guitar and sang melody. I sang the high harmony, and Susie sang the low.”
In the early to mid-'80s, Reba’s career in country music took off with the release of Unlimited and My Kind of Country. At the time, Susie and Pake were lending their background vocals to Reba. In return, Pake got noticed and launched his own music career. Meanwhile, Susie spent a few years touring with Reba before carving out a space for herself in Christian music.
Meanwhile, Alice opted for a more private lifestyle out of the limelight. She worked as a social worker before serving as the county director of the Department of Human Services in Atoka, Oklahoma.
“Alice is the rock, the one you can call at three in the morning, and she’ll always be ready to help in any way,” Reba wrote of her sister.
Here's everything to know about Reba McEntire’s siblings — Susie, Pake and Alice — and their special bond with the country music star.
Reba and her siblings grew up on their family ranch
Reba and her siblings had quite a unique childhood. They grew up on their family’s 8,000-acre ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma, and were just as involved with tending to the land and animals as the adults.
“By the time I was six I was gathering cattle, and doing it from before daylight until after dark by the time I was seven,” Reba wrote in Reba: My Story. “Alice, Pake and I would saddle the horses, tie them up, and then go tell Daddy we were ready.”
Like Reba, Jacqueline had big dreams of becoming a country music star; however, she eventually landed jobs in the education system as a schoolteacher, librarian and a high school superintendent’s secretary.
Meanwhile, Clark was a three-time world champion steer roper. The family's weekends were often spent on the road watching him compete at local rodeos, and most of his children followed his lead. Pake had a knack for roping, while Reba spent 10 years competing in barrel racing, per her website. After she stepped away from the sport at age 21, Alice kept perfecting her barrel racing techniques.
They were known as “the singing McEntires”
Reba and her siblings quickly became known as “the singing McEntires” in high school, thanks to their mom, who taught them how to sing and harmonize — and didn’t hesitate to let them know if they were off-key.
"Anytime anybody needed an opinion of who’s off — Susie’s on my part, I’m on Susie’s part — Mama would come in with her spatula after she was frying potatoes," Reba recalled during an appearance on Today with Hoda & Jenna.
The "Fancy" vocalist continued, "She would say, ‘OK, Reba, you’re on Susie’s part. Sing it again.’ We’d sing it, and she’d say, ‘Oh, that’s perfect,’ and she’d go back in and keep frying potatoes."
The family band became a local hit at rodeos and nearby clubs.
Susie and Pake sang backup for Reba
Before launching their own music careers, Susie and Pake often sang backup for Reba. By the time Susie was able to join Reba on the road, she had already become a marquee act. Their harmonies are featured on 1981’s Heart to Heart, and 1982’s Unlimited, among others.
Susie also got a lot of television experience, appearing alongside Reba on The Johnny Carson Show and the CBS sketch comedy Hee Haw.
“I learned so much in this short period of time – little did I know that this travel time with Reba would help to prepare me for my own solo career in music,” Susie wrote on her website.
In an interview with United Press International, Pake explained how Reba’s first contract wasn’t only a launching pad for her music career but for his and Susie’s as well.
“I was always real supportive and enjoyed all of her accomplishments through the years. She’s been singing since 1976 and has had a lot of success and I knew it would be my turn some day,” he told the outlet. “We knew that she could help us when she got her foot in the door. She's helped me tremendously.”
Susie became a Christian music singer
After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1980, Susie began pursuing music full-time — however, it wasn’t until 1984 that Susie found her true calling in Christian music.
Since then, she’s released over a dozen albums throughout her lustrous career and earned four No. 1 singles on the Positive Country radio charts.
According to her website, she was recognized as entertainer of the year by the International Country Gospel Music Association in 1993 and won female vocalist of the year at the 2007 Country Gospel Connection Choice Awards. Most recently, in 2018, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
“The person who influenced me the most for Christ was my Grandma Smith who babysat me while my siblings went to school," she wrote on her site. "It was through her influence that I recognized what Christianity was all about – not all about going to church – it was about Him living His life through me."
Pake is a multi-time rodeo roping champion
In the midst of launching his music career, Pake was also making a name for himself in the rodeo world. He won the Pendleton Round-Up in 1984, and the Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping in 1990, per The Oklahoman.
Pake loves the rodeo so much that he named his youngest daughter, Chism, after one of the greatest cattle barons in the 1800s: John Chism.
His passion for roping stems from his childhood, telling United Press International, “Every time I went out on the front porch with a rope, the dogs would run under the house. I used to rope cats and hogs and anything with legs that would stand still."
Pake also had a brief solo music career. In 1986, he signed to RCA Records and released his debut album, Too Old to Grow Up Now, but the two eventually parted ways, and Pake became an independent artist.
They have a combined total of 7 kids
Alice and her husband, Robert, are parents to sons Vince, Garett and Trevor and daughter Haley. In a joint interview with Reba and Susie on the Jesus Calling podcast, Alice admitted that being the oldest of her siblings prepared her for motherhood.
“I was always meant to be a mama. And I practiced on y’all, you know, disciplined you and took the responsibility,” she said.
Susie is a mother of three. She shares sons E.P. and Samuel and daughter Lucchese with her ex-husband. In December 2009, she remarried Mark Eaton, who is also a father of three. They’ve since settled down in Atoka, Oklahoma, where their 12 grandchildren help run the family farm, per Tri-State Livestock News.
Pake and his wife have welcomed three daughters: Autumn, Calamity and Chism. They also reside in Oklahoma on a 1,040-acre ranch.
Meanwhile, Reba shares son Shelby Blackstock with ex-husband Narvel Blackstock, whom she was married to for 26 years. He and Reba’s daughter-in-law now live in Nashville.
Faith plays a big role in their family life
While appearing on the Jesus Calling podcast, the trio opened up about how they were first introduced to Christianity via their maternal grandmother and how faith has continued to play a key role in adult lives.
“I remember Grandma saying — and I have relied on this — ‘Always tell the Lord thank you. Thank you.’ And when I don’t have anything else to pray about, I just stop and say, ‘Thank you, God, thank you. I don’t know what’s coming next. I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I just want to say thank you,’ ” Susie recalled to her sisters.
“And that has resonated — a simple little thing that she said probably to every one of us, but it continues to resonate in our lives. There’s that ripple effect that [we're] going to make in our kids and our grandkids,” she added.
The sentiment has helped them navigate through different moments in their lives, including when their mom died from cancer in March 2020. Shortly after, Reba shared that she imagined Jacqueline reuniting with their dad, Clark, in heaven, who died in October 2014. Apart from dedicating the song "Seven Minutes in Heaven" to their mom, the singer also leaned on her siblings for support.
"We laughed, we cried ... and we just felt her presence and her love," Reba said on Today about remembering Jacqueline in her home. "It was just the greatest thing in the world," Reba said. "It was a very healing thing."
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