KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Patsy Cline’s final performance happened in KCK 56 years ago this weekend.
Cline headlined a benefit show at Memorial Hall on March 3, 1963. Two days later, she died in a plane crash on her way home to Nashville.
“I can remember her coming out on the stage in that white gown that she wore that day,” Don Jolley said. “It was a benefit show for a radio DJ’s family, a guy by the name of ‘Cactus Jack’ Call.”
Jolley was just 12 years old when he saw what turned out to be Cline’s final performance.
“It’s a bittersweet fact of musical history,” Melissa Bynum said. “It’s a sad thing for Kansas City, Kansas, to stake a claim on.”
Bad weather delayed Cline’s flight home to Nashville until two days later, on March 5, 1963. The skies were still stormy on that day, and a friend urged Cline to join them in a car ride back to Nashville.
Cline famously responded by saying, “Don’t worry about me, hoss! When it’s my time to go, it’s my time.”
“Their pilot thought he could make it, so they took off,” Jolley said.
After a stop in Missouri and Tennessee, Cline’s plane crashed in a remote wooded area near Camden, Tennessee. Cline was just 30 years old.
This Sunday will mark 56 years since Cline’s final show at Memorial Hall.
Locals said it’s bittersweet to have this connection with the first woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Although it’s connection marked by tragedy, it’s created a unique bond, for some, between this community and one of the most famous names in American music.
“I didn’t know the story until later,” said Bynum, who was born after Cline’s 1963 performance. “And so then once I did know the story, about my hometown and this venue and our relationship to her, it just makes her music so much more special to me.”