September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963
“…I’ll never live past 30”
This is a collection of information and photographs having to do with Patsy Cline and her death. So many things have been added over the years, it would take too much time to organize it. I hope you can sift through it and enjoy it.
Without a doubt, one of the most original singing voices in the world, with a string of hits insuring her immortality. I could go on about her life (born Virginia Patterson Hensley), but there are hundreds of websites devoted to that, and it ain’t what we’re about.
June 17, 2000:
Findadeath.com friend D.R. Connolly has struck once more, and got some great new shots for us. Here is the home where Patsy and Charlie were married, located at 720 S. Kent Street, in Winchester. This is Gaunt’s Drug Store, where Patsy used to work. Here is the sign in Shenandoah Memorial Park, pointing you to Patsy’s grave. Last but certainly not least, the Patsy Stamps, first day issue. Cool, or what?! Thanks D.R.!
JUNE 2001: Findadeath.com friend Jeff sends this info: Wanted to pass this picture along, although it’s sad. I went to Winchester last week and, being a Patsy fan myself…I took the time to snoop around a bit. I hit all the spots, including the Rainbow Road Club. Decided to forego having a cocktail there as it was mid-Sunday about 3:00 on the WVA state line. Way too many bubbas in the parking lot.
Here’s a picture of 608 S. Kent from the back side, taken last week. Keep in mind that this was taken 5/20/01! I’ve made calls to her fan club and have even left a call for Mel Dick, Patsy’s brother-in-law. Waiting to hear from him. Loretta should be ashamed, too. This is appalling. I am thinking of spearheading an action myself with MCA (her old Decca label) in tow with me. Shouldn’t be too difficult with this picture as a backup. Put some heat on some people to do something.
608 S. Kent was purchased in 1/01 by a group of individuals known as Adams Mgmt, aka Pegasus Realty. They planned to place a tenant there and charge $600 a month toward the renovation costs. That is still the plan but no one has rented it yet. I can’t believe that Winchester doesn’t have one hefty drag queen/hair burner to move up in there and hold court in a brunette wig.
How cheezy and lame is that plan? Anyway, the house is not for sale and the plan is stalled, due to the unexpected death of Mr. Adams. Meanwhile it rots. It was purchased, in a package deal with the house at Monmouth and Kent that Mrs. Hensley (Patsy’s mom) died in (in late ’98.) Note 608 S. Kent off in the distance under the arrow. 720 S. Kent is directly behind the second group of trees down the hill.
These photographs come courtesy of Findadeath.com friend D.R. Connolly. This is the sign that used to welcome people to Patsy’s home town of Winchester, VA. I understand that it is gone now.
Here is the house that Patsy grew up in, in Winchester, VA. 608 S. Kent Street, to be exact. This showcase is located at the Kurtz Cultural Center, in Winchester.
Also in Winchester, is this bell tower, and plaque, dedicated to their fave daughter. D.R. also tells me that the house is vacant and NOT for sale. Stunning work, D.R. Thanks so very much.
A huge thanks to friend of Findadeath.com Cayley, who took these next photographs for us. Patsy’s home was located on Nella Drive, in Goodlettsville, TN.
The house number was 815. My pal Cayley got these shots : )
Patsy had just done a gig in Kansas City, to benefit the family of disc jockey “Cactus” Jack Call, who was killed in a car accident. That concert took place on the 3rd of March 1963. Big thanks to my friend Steve Smith for this info: The songs she sang in Kansas were: “Heartaches,” “She’s Got You,” “Am I a Fool,” “Faded Love,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Come on In,” “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces.” She wore a white gown after losing a lot of weight, joking with the audience that she could finally wear white.
They intended to fly back to Nashville the next day in her manager’s plane, but storms postponed their flight until the 5th. On Tuesday the 5th, at 1:30 p.m., Patsy, her manager and pilot, Randy Hughes, and fellow performers Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas took off on their ill fated flight. They were flying a single propeller 4 person Piper Comanche PA-24 plane (#N-7000P thankya). At 2:22 p.m. there was radio contact with them just south of Kansas City, and they stopped for fuel on the way, in Dyersburg, Tennessee. While refueling, they grabbed a bite to eat, and the pilot phoned his wife in Nashville. She said that the weather was fine. Unbeknownst to her, she was in the eye of the storm, and it was NOT all right (whoops.). The plane took off again, at 6:07 – straight for the storm.
The plane landed in a hollow in a wooded area called Fatty Bottom, just west of Camden. That’s some 70 miles west of Nashville. The Camden Civil Defense Unit and the Highway patrol searched all night for the wreckage, until it was discovered at dawn by William Jeffrey Hollingsworth, and his son Jeners. Here is the son’s account of the discovery:
“We were out on Old Stage Road trying to locate the plane just as it turned daylight. We looked up through the mist and fog, and spotted a section of a yellow airplane wing in the top of a tree. We went down the steep hill and saw pieces of the plane scattered around a 300 foot area. There were parts of bodies on tree limbs and on the ground. Daddy started backing up from the area and told me to go call the sheriff’s office.”
Here is the coolest Findadeath photo ever, courtesy of Country Diva Tina C. Right here in the UK! These items were found in the wreckage. Fantastic.
So Hollingsworth ran to his sister’s house and placed the call. The first officer on the scene was Trooper Troy Odle. After he investigated the wreckage, he fired three shots into the air (YEE HAW.) to summon the others.
Local funeral director Bill Mclin drove the ambulance to the crash site to remove the “mangled and torn bodies” of the victims from the scene. This is the spot where Patsy’s body was found.
Here is a stone (Patsy’s Stone? Patsy’s pieces?) from the exact spot.
Soon after the discovery, people were arriving from everywhere, taking pieces of the plane wreckage as souvenirs. See? I’m not the only one. By Sunday, over 3000 people had gone to the crash site to do whatever.
Again, thanks to my buddy Steve Smith for this: According to the book Patsy Cline by Ellis Nassour, husband Charlie Dick brought her body home for viewing (of the casket only. Duh.) in her living room. A prayer service for all four victims was held on Thursday, March 7 at 5:00 p.m., and supposedly 25,000 people showed up for the event. Her actual funeral/burial did not take place until the Sunday after in Winchester, Virginia, March 10, in Shenandoah Memorial Park. Randy Hughes & Cowboy Copas (Randy’s father-in-law) funeral was held Friday morning and Hacksaw Hawkins’ funeral was held Friday afternoon, Patsy’s husband, Charlie went to both funerals. Patsy’s body was returned to Winchester via plane after the prayer service and her funeral/burial was on Sunday, giving her mother and family and Charlie time to return from Nashville. Phew, thanks Steve.
Cut to July 6, 1996, a giant stone was placed at the scene of the discovery as a memorial to the victims.
People in attendance included country legend Kitty Wells, her husband Johnny Wright, Jean Shepherd and Harold Hawkins (Hawkshaw’s wife and son), and Julie and Michelle Fudge, daughter and granddaughter of Patsy Cline.
Here’s a close up of the stone.
Here’s a picture of Jeners Hollingsworth with a hunk of the plane. I wonder if they let him keep it. I’d be so jealous.
The Patsy Cline fan club put a mailbox up near the sight. The day we were there, it contained a guest book and other assorted atrocities including a shell, a (plastic) flower (ugh.), and a little wooden church. Whatever. Oh yeah, there’s this post thing, too.
I don’t know if this is true or not, but legend has it that Patsy’s song, “I Fall To Pieces” was climbing up the charts just as Patsy hit the dirt. I doubt it, but it would be ironic, wouldn’t it?
Trivia: Johnny Wright (Kitty Well’s husband) was once part of a singing duo with his brother-in-law, Jack. They were called, “Johnny and Jack.” They were on their way to Patsy’s funeral on the 7th of March, when an automobile accident took the life of Jack.
Trivia: You know earlier, when I showed you the photograph of where Patsy’s body was found? Well, I’m not embarrassed to say I did it, but let’s just say…I had to.
I sell stones from the location as well. Yep, I’m a whore.
More Trivia: Located in the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville, you can see one of Patsy’s outfits, and the sewing machine her mother would make them on.
Also, there is an exhibit showing what Patsy’s rec room looked like. The only authentic item is the television, but her husband Charlie helped them to recreate it.
Okay, more. Thanks again Steve for this: “She’s Got You” was her big hit at the time she died, “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy” reaching number one in 1961 and 1962, respectively (according to the liner notes on the soundtrack “Sweet Dreams,” “I Fall to Pieces” was recorded on November 16, 1960 and “Crazy” was recorded on August 21, 1961 – two months after her near fatal car accident.)
Trivia: At 11:30 a.m., on August 3 1999, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is awarding (meaning someone paid for it) Patsy a star on the Walk of Fame.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TRIVIA. My buddy Ted, from Celebrity Archives (see the link on our links page) furnished this next bit of information. Patsy had a hand written will. Not that unusual, you say? It was written on Delta Airlines Letterhead. Check it out. Thanks Ted!
March 2001, from Findadeath.com friend Calvin Champion:
For persons who have seen the motion picture “Sweet Dreams”, there are many items that are not accurate and items that are misleading. Here are just a few of those items:
In the movie, it is stated that Patsy loved yellow roses. Actually, Patsy loved red roses.
In the movie, Patsy’s near fatal car accident is completely inaccurate. It shows Patsy and her brother getting broad-sided by a moving van because the brother was not paying attention to the road.
Actually, the car Patsy was riding in, driven by her younger brother “John”, was hit head-on. A woman in the on-coming lane floor-boarded her car in order to pass another vehicle. She was the one not paying attention. She struck “John’s” car head-on and Patsy was thrown through the windshield. The driver of the other car and her young nephew were killed. Another passenger in the car survived the accident. Patsy was in critical condition and almost died from blood loss because she insisted the others be taken to the hospital first. Her heart was truly in the right place. Another piece of information is that Dottie West (OH NO!) heard about the accident on the radio and went to the scene (she lived less than three blocks away). When she arrived, Patsy was still lying on the pavement and Dottie cradled Patsy’s head in her lap and picked the glass out of her hair. Dottie rode to the hospital in the ambulance with Patsy. (Poor Dottie.)
It is true that Patsy and her husband’s marriage could be somewhat rocky at times. However,
the huge fight at the end of the movie is said to be total fiction. And, the following recording studio scene never took place as portrayed. If you believe the movie, you would assume that Patsy and Charlie did not see one another before she was killed. This is not true. Patsy performed in Birmingham, Alabama on February 28 and Charlie accompanied her and her manager to the show. After the show, they all flew back to Nashville in her managers plane (the same one that would crash a few days later) and Charlie got off and Hawkins and Copas got on. Patsy told Charlie she would see him Sunday and the plane took off for Kansas City.
In the film, it is shown that the airplane had engine trouble then hit the side of a cliff and exploded; all during the daylight. Once again…inaccurate. Since you have been to the crash site, you know there are not tall mountains and cliffs. Actually, the group were to return home on Sunday, March 3, after the last show. However, due to bad weather, the plane was not allowed to take off until Tuesday, March 5. That morning, the group left Kansas City and headed for Nashville. Because the weather was still not favorable, the plane had to land several times and wait for the storm to blow further east. The last place they would land would be Dyersburg, TN…only 90 miles from home. Because of misinformation, the pilot and Patsy’s manager, Randy Hughes, decided to try and make it into Nashville. The plane took off at 6:07 pm and headed straight for the storm. Many people in the Camden area reported a plane flying low and circling. It was dark outside and raining. Anyway, people reported hearing a loud “explosion” sound a few moments later. Of course, the
plane was found in bits and pieces the next morning.
According to the NTSB and other investigators, since Randy was not an instrument rated pilot, he lost control of the plane after entering the storm. It is believed the plane went into a “dead man’s” spiral at about a 45 degree angle. The plane could go as fast as 180 MPH and with the spiral degree angle, the plane could have been descending at a speed between 220 and 260 MPH. Unless Randy had let the passengers know, no one probably knew that anything was wrong; and since it was dark outside, the passengers probably did not even know they were in trouble until the plane struck the tree tops. From the way the debris was scattered and the flight path, the time between hitting the tree tops and impact with the ground could have been no more than two seconds. And, it is most likely that the passengers were killed instantly. There was no gasoline explosion. The sound the Camden residents heard was the impact of the plane hitting the ground; which dug out a six foot deep hole. It was truly a tragic event that could have been avoided. I am attaching a photograph of the planes fuselage.
As for songs, “Leavin’ on Your Mind” was number eight on the country charts at the time of the crash. “Sweet Dreams (of you)” was released as a single on March 19, 1963….14 days after the crash.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is opening a new building May 17 and is supposed to be displaying almost all the memorabilia in its collection. This should include the tail section of the airplane and other pieces such as the clock. We will only know for sure after the grand opening.
Thanks for the extensive research, Calvin. I was in Nashville a year or so ago, and went to a diner which (I didn’t know it at the time) was the one in the film. The waitress was the same waitress, although since watching it again, you couldn’t tell to save your life. Still… another brush with fame.
MORE NEW! March 2001:
I have looked at your site several times, and I must say, you’ve done a wonderful job.
On the Patsy Cline entry, I wanted to point a couple of things out to you:
1.The funeral directors name is listed as Mclin. It should be Malin. The funeral home is Stockdale-Malin.
2. Mr. Hollingsworth was indeed allowed to keep the piece of wreckage, and still owns it. He used to give tiny pieces of it to fans, but finally decided if he continued to do so, there would be nothing left.
I am a native of Camden, and was told the story of the crash and the mangled condition of the bodies many times over the years. My father was an early arriver on the scene, and was horrified by the sights and smells that assaulted him that day.
Thank you for your informative site.
Rhonda PattersonThank YOU, Rhonda. Interesting!
Findadeath.com friend Terri Story sends this picture of a shrine that exists near Patsy’s death spot.
July 2003: Received this info from a Patsy Cline Pantysniffer:
I think your site is appalling and condone it in no way. I only checked it out because I heard the Mills guys were trying to sell the plane to you, and I hoped to GOD it wasn’t true. Luckily they are scum too, and ripped you off. I will give you some info though so you wont be misinforming people. You mock the fans and the items they have left in Camden.You disgust me, and to lay in the spot where Patsy was found!!! I hope you rot in hell for that. I recently visited Camden for the first time and the little pile of stones was heart wrenching. BUT ON TO THE INFO:
608 S. Kent was purchased by a non profit organization called Celebrating Patsy Cline (CPC)—not to be confused with the Fan Club. The house is currently being rented, but they are going to make it into a museum someday. Also, after Mrs. Hensley’s death, Patsy’s sister and brother began battling over who got what. Finally, after many court costs were accrued, they auctioned off many of Patsy’s most famous costumes, including her Vegas and Carnegie Hall dress. CPC set up a fund for the fans and enough was raised to buy 2 blouses from that auction. CPC also worked with another fan that bought other outfits and managed to get them to loan them for the museum.
If any fans wish to contribute, please donate to CPC, NOT THE FAN CLUB. The fan club is a rip off and nothing is done for Patsy. Mel Dick, Patsy’s brother in law runs it and there is no order!! He even owns a flower shop and has no flowers put out for Patsy!!!
CPC also set up a flowers fund for fans to donate to, this fund ensures that flowers will be put out for Patsy 4 times a year. You can also donate money to CPC for the museum that will be located at the house on S. Kent. CPC c/o Judy Sue Kempf 1360 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. Winchester VA 22601. Make sure to tell them if the donation is for the flowers fund or for the Museum fund.
Also, there is a Patsy Cline celebration in her hometown of Winchester, VA every Labor Day weekend. There is a banquet, a Saturday picnic and a Sunday Memorial Service.
And NO, I Fall to Pieces was not climbing the charts when the crash happened. I Fall to Pieces actually climbed the charts while Patsy was in the hospital recovering from the near fatal crash in 1961. Patsy died in 1963..she had already had Crazy out by then too. A DJ however, did inappropriately play I Fall To Pieces after the radio announced Patsy and the others had perished in the plane crash.
Hope you find this useful, and mention it TASTEFULLY and RESPECTFULLY!
~~A Patsy Fan~~
Thanks and bite me.
A few years ago I sent a money order out for $80 to these two guys in Tennessee, that were selling hunks of Patsy’s plane. They even offered me a cut if I sold a larger piece for them. Well, long story short – they never sent the two pieces we agreed on. Their names are Eric and Scott Mills, from Jackson Tennessee. They said they sent it, but it never got there, and they changed their email address etc. I think this sucks and they are dicks. I can eat the 80 bucks, but people have written me and told me that this isn’t the first time these dicks have ripped people off, so BE AWARE of them.
December 2003 – A little update from Findadeath.com friend D.R. Connolly: “Just came back from Winchester VA. The woman at the Chamber of Commerce told me, “Patsy’s house will be turned into a museum. It was purchased for this purpose. The first phase beginning in Spring of 2004.
Also, while I was there, two of Patsy’s Cowboy show dresses were auctioned off in NYC. Several townspeople went to NYC to purchase these dresses. I don’t know if they were successful or not. I was told by the same lady that the squabbling between family members was “just terrible.”
Patsy’s mother and father are buried in Winchester National Cemetery, in Winchester Virginia.
Great work D.R. Thanks!
December 13, 2001:
Findadeath.com friend Calvin Champion sends us these original 1963 scans and additional information. Excellent Findadeath sleuthery, Calvin! Thanks.
A photo of the shoes Patsy Cline was seen wearing when she boarded the plane at Dyersburg. The caption reads, “Patsy Cline’s soft gold slippers, covered with mud, point to the impact site of the four-seat plane.”
A photo of the crater where the plane hit the ground. “A six-foot deep crater was gouged out of the side of a hill where the single-engine plane hit the ground. The crater was filled with water from the apparent thunderstorm and had to be pumped in order to reach parts of the bodies. A wing hangs silently in a dogwood tree, just above the crater.”
A photo of the police and funeral home crew combing the wreckage of the plane. “Police officials and funeral home attendents sift through the wreckage for body parts of three Grand Ole Opry stars. Civil Defense official Dean Brewer asked if all four bodies could be accounted for replied, ‘There’s not enough to count….they’re all in small pieces.'”
At the Hall of Fame, there were no displays of the plane…just some personal items that were found at the crash site: Patsy’s Dixie cigarette lighter and a make-up case. At the Willie Nelson Museum, they have Patsy’s watch, the one she was wearing at the time of her death, on display. A not below it reads, “This watch stopped at 6:27 pm on March 5, 1963.”
And some interesting info: Back in August, there were two pieces of the plane up for auction on eBay, part of the tail section with part of the ID No. N70 and part of the belly. The bidding was up to $50,100.00 when eBay pulled the auction because of some complaints. eBay then restarted the auction, but there were no more bids. I believe the owners sold the pieces to a guy in Canada. Patsy’s husband, as well as Mrs. Hughes were interviewed and they said the auction did not bother them. Oh well! There went a chance to own a bit of history.
JUNE 2001, from Findadeath.com friends Walt and Lisa Fritsch:
My wife and I have been fans of your site for awhile now. We recently moved to Winchester, VA from Los Angeles (where we had a lot of fun looking up the dead and famous). Of course, Winchester is the home of Patsy Cline. This year, her family were made the Honorary Marshals of the Apple Blossom Parade (It’s the “Hillbilly” version of The Rose
We were standing in front of Gaunt’s Drug store, (where Patsy worked), when this picture was taken. I believe it is her son and all of her grandchildren sitting atop the fire engine, but I’m 100% certain that her husband Charlie and daughter Julie are in the car.
Julie stopped by Gaunt’s Drug Store for interviews and photos after the parade. Sorry, I ran out of film–otherwise, I would have gotten a picture taken with her.
Findadeath.com friend Jim Davis sent in this copy of Patsy’s funeral card. Thanks Jimbo.
Update: March 2015- Patsy’s Pizza Death Hag Sticker
Lawrence Varkalis sends this:
Had to put this on the window and take a picture. In South Chicago Heights, Illinois.