March 5, 1963—this tragic date will forever be engraved in the hearts and minds of all country music fans. Fifty-eight years back, Patsy Cline left the world in shock after a plane crash took her life, along with Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. Their plane was homebound after they wrapped up a benefit concert in Kansas City, Kansas.
The concert’s aim was to raise funds for DJ Jack “Cactus” Call’s family, who had been killed in a car crash January of the same year. During the show, Cline was sick with flu and was advised to cancel her performance. However, she insisted and pushed through with her performance that she completed three shows at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas on March 3. Among other artists who performed during the benefit concert were Hawkshaw, Cowboy Copas, Billy Walker, Dottie West, George McCormick, George Riddle, George Jones, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, the Jones Boys, and the Clinch Mountain Boys.
Then, as if to foreshadow her impending demise, Patsy declined West’s offer to join her, together with her husband, on the 16-hour drive back to Music City. She replied, “Don’t worry about me, Hoss. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go.” At that time, Cline’s flight on March 4 was canceled due to weather disturbances. At around 12:30 PM, and after her second night at the town’s motel, Patsy checked out. She headed to the Fairfax Municipal Airport, where she, along with Hawkins and Copas boarded the private plane of her manager, Randy Hughes. They departed at 2 pm, with Hughes piloting the plane.
At Dyersburg, Tenn, Hughes decided to refuel the plane. He was also advised not to travel due to the bad weather conditions. But he paid no mind to the warming and even said he would return to Dyersburg should they encounter any problems. A few minutes past 6, they were back on the flight. It hadn’t been long after when a witness filed a report about hearing an aircraft that seemed to be flying too low. 29 minutes later, the private plane crashed near Camden, Tenn.
Hughes’ lack of experience flying a plane was determined as the root cause of the disaster.
Cline was 30 years old when she passed. In 1973, she was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She may have left the world too abruptly, but her fans and family will fondly remember her legacy for as long as they live.
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