BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The late country music legend and Oildale’s favorite son Merle Haggard would have celebrated his 85th birthday.

Two local authors — one of them a close friend of Haggard — honored the late singer at the Beale Library on Wednesday.

Haggard died April 6, 2016 at his home in Palo Cedro on his 79th birthday of complications from pneumonia.

Ray McDonald and Phil Neighbors shared personal and professional stories of Merle and Merle’s manager, Fuzzy Owen.

McDonald lived at Merle and Bonnie Owens’ home his sophomore year of high school and went on to become Merle’s friend, confidant and later his bus driver.

McDonald’s book is titled “Merle Haggard Was a Friend of Mine.”

Phile Neighbors, the longtime co-pastor of Valley Baptist Church, has ministered to many local musicians including Fuzzy Owen.

Attendees of the Beale Library event also watched never-before-seen video footage and enjoyed some live music.