Patsy Cline
September 8, 1932 -
March 5, 1963

~ Gone too soon ... but
what a legacy she left ~

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Thank you for visiting the   Website of Ellis Nassour's
Patsy Cline :

Honky Tonk Angel

For information about Patsy Cline or to E-mail comments:


from Patsy's good friend Marie Flynt:

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Patsy and Marie Flynt


Fond memories, a wonderful, exciting friend, a fantastic singer and a lady whom I think about every day. 
       I believe it was Patsy's mother, Hilda, who decided on the epitaph for Patsy's headstone and I have always thought it was apt : DEATH  CANNOT  KILL   WHAT  NEVER  DIES, LOVE.  Quoting it and elaborating my feelings on   death, has helped me to console numerous mourners.  The dead are at peace with the Lord, but when they are loved ones we can never forget them. I have always felt that you should cry for those left behind because they still have to struggle and suffer.   As far as Patsy is concerned, I know she's in the Heavenly Choir and keeps it "bouncing".
        When I met Patsy on those early music gigs when she was still living in Virginia, we bonded and became instant friends. Traveling with her to various dates, we sang in the car. She helped me with my phrasing and taught me how to breath from my diaphragm.  She also taught me about showmanship. She
said the "trick" to grabbing an audience was to come on with a song that socks it to them and leaves them wanting more.
        I have a wonderful memories of those times. Patsy even planned to get me onstage, but the owner of Watermelon Park in Pennsylvania wanted to see my union card.  I didn't have one, so I thought that was that! But Patsy said, "Ree, there's more than one way to skin a cat."  When she went on, I was backstage at
a microphone she very discreetly set up. When she sang "Yes, I Understand," I did harmony.  What a thrill that was!  I loved her willingness to help me. One thing I really admired about Patsy is that she knew what she was capable of and she wasn't the least bit jealous of anyone. That is certainly evidenced by the fact that she helped Brenda Lee, Dottie West and Loretta Lynn.
        As you can probably imagine, Patsy valued loyalty and honesty above all else. That was good because I was never one to give lip service.  I'm not saying she always agreed. There was a time or two she didn't.   In the many letters we exchanged, Patsy poured out her heart to me about her career obstacles and achievements and her personal prolems. She knew that what she told me in confidence would go no further.
       During hard times, Patsy could be dying on the inside, but when she went onstage and took that microphone in her hand, a smile automatically came across her face. When she opened her mouth to sing, there was no doubt that her incredible talent wasn't God-given.  
       Unlike so many artists that you are used to hearing on record, Patsy sounded just as good, if not better, in person. She was one singer who didn't need all that electronic stuff.  When she sang songs like "Faded Love," the emotion was so real she made me cry.
       I knew the pain behind what she was singing.  I only saw Patsy cry three times. One time was when she told me about how the people of  Winchester didn't appreciate her.   She felt that they let her down when she needed them most.  I told her that you're never a star in your own back yard, but she said, "It still hurts".
       Patsy loved life and she really lived it. Hilda was so right on. Every day I feel Patsy's wonderful and powerful presence and rejoice that we were friends. DEATH  CANNOT  KILL  WHAT  NEVER  DIES, LOVE. 
And we Patsy Cline fans won't ever let it.


An excerpt from HONKY TONK ANGEL: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline



      Patsy and Charlie arrived in Nashville in late August 1959.  They rented a two-story house at 213 East Marthona Drive off Old HickoryBoulevard in Madison, north of town ... Until their furniture arrived, they stayed at a motel and looked up old friends.
      Carl Butler and his wife Pearl were at the top of their list.
      "We met Patsy a couple of times," Pearl recalled, "on the Town and Country Jamboree [in Washington, D.C.]. While Carl would be out singing, I palled around with everyone backstage.  And, one night, there she was decked out in one of the cutest cowgirl outfits I'd ever seen.  Patsy came up and said, 'Hi, Pearl. I'm Patsy Cline." It was love at first sight.  Patsy had this black address book and, before we left, she took down our address. She said, "Someday, I'm gonne be coming to Nashville and I'll look y'all up.' I replied, "Y'all be sure n' come see us! If you don't, we'll feel mighty hurt.'" . . .
       In October, there was a knock on the Bulter's door. "Why, my God!" Pearl exclaimed. "Oh, my gosh. Carl, it's Patsy, Charlie and their little girl! Y'all come in here out of the cold."
       "You mean, you're gonna invite us in?" Patsy asked.
       "Of course, Y'all can stay if y'all want. Our home is your home."
       "We've been to see a lot of people who told us to look them up if we ever came to town and not a one invited us in."
       "Hon," said Pearl, "we ain't nobody but us."
       "It's sure nice of you, Pearl," replied Patsy.
       "Heck, you're friends, ain't you?" declared Pearl.
       The Dicks and Butlers spent the day talking shop, cooking, eating and with Pearl carrying on over [Patsy and Charlie's daughter] Julie. 

        It was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship. 

wpe17.jpg (144170 bytes) Pearl Butler,, wearing and with
western costumes given to her 
by Patsy after she dropped her 
"cowgirl" image. The outfits 
were designed and made by 
Patsy's mother, Hilda Hensley.
Photo by ELLIS NASSOUR; from Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline;©1981,1993, 2008

March 6, 1963

       The Butlers were returning from dates in Calfornia. The utility trailer behidn their Cadillac was packed with instruments, amplifiers, boxes of records and phtographs and Carl and the western costumes Patsy had given Pearl.
        "I can't tell you, having known Patsy all those years, how proud I was to be wearing those outfits," Pearl said. "I felt like a million dollars on those shows!"
        It was about daybreak. The Butlers were almost home, driving through the "tennessee sticks" in an intense rain and windstorm. They were listening to Nashville's WSM Radio and Grant Turner, the disc jockey, played one of their songs.
       "No matter where we were," explained Pearl, "when that happened we'd always call the disc jockey at the particular radio station to thank him for playing our record.  They got a kick out of that, and played more of our records!  We kept looking for a phone booth to call Grant, but you could hardly see a thing in front of you.
       "Spotting a phone booth, I yelled, 'There's one, Carl!  Pull over.' He got as close as possible so I wouldn't get real wet, but the wind was blowing so bad I could barely get the door open. I dialed the operator, who heard the wind howling.  She said, 'Ma'am, if the booth starts to blow over, don't worry about hanging up.  Just get out.'  I told her I appreciated her advice, but that I'd probably be in it!
       "When I got through to Grant, he asked, 'Pearl, where are y'all?'  I said, 'What do you wanna know that for?  You gonna come meet us for coffee and doughnuts?'  He sounded excited.  'Pearl, just whereabouts are you?'  I replied, 'Heck, I don't know.  Not far from Nashville.   Just a minute.  Let me yell to Carl.' i yelled, but he didn't hear me.    I told Grand, 'Hon, I think we're someplace right outside of Camden.   Know where that is?'  
      "He said, 'That's about where the plane crashed!'   My first instinct was to look out of the booth, but I couldn't see no place.   That's how bad the rain was.  I asked, "What plane are you talking about?   Who crashed?  Somebody we know?'  Grant answered, 'Oh, honey, you don't know?'  I said, 'Don't I know what?'  He told me, 'Yes, you know them.'   'Them?' I asked.  And he told me what happened, and I couldn't believe it.   The receiver just hung in my hand.  I prayed to God it wasn't so.  I didn't know how to tell Carl.  He loved Hawk and Cowboy and adored Patsy."
. . .
      Stations everywhere interrupted programming to report the tragedy ... On WSM, his voice breaking, Grant Turner said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  The plane bearing patsy clin, Hawshaw Hawkisn and Cowboy Copas has crashed, and all of the above have perished.  Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas are dead."
      When he heard the official announcement, Carl turned off the highway onto a gravel and dire road.
      "It twisted and turned every which way," recalled Pearl.  "I fianally said, 'Hon, where are you going?' and he stopped and we tried to pull ourselves together.  All I could think of were Patsy's costumes in the trailer ... When Carl started up the car, we were lost.  He turned around and headed back till we hit the highway.  I've tried and tried to find that road and, to this day, I've never been able to.  I used to think, 'My goodness, did we go on a road that didn't exist?'"
The Butlers had turned onto Mule Barn Road.   Had they proceeded another mile, they would have encountered the cars from the search party waiting to go into the area.

      Roger Miller, one of Patsy's closest male buddies drove from Nashville to the Camden area when he heard the news reports, and ran from farm house to farm house asking for information about any loud noises, searched through the woods all night, yelling at the top of his lungs : "Patsy! Hawk!  Cowboy!  Randy!" Hawk!  Cowboy!  Randy!"At approximately 5:30 in the morning, he came upon a clearing, where he spotted  a fire tower. 
      "I climbed to the top and there it was, about twenty yards away ... It was ghastly!"

All material on this page is from Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline  
by ELLIS NASSOUR; ©1981,1993, 2008  

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