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West Tennessee Treasures - Camden - Patsy Cline Memorial

By Brittany Patterson
By bpatterson@wbbjtv.com

March 5, 1963 a small plane crash made big headlines.

Country music legends Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and their pilot, Randy Hughes lost their lives outside of Camden.

"It was in a thunderstorm and nobody really knows exactly what happened. They think he just had pilot vertigo," said Bill Kee, Benton County/Camden Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. "I'm sure there was tremendous sadness at that time. We lost three iconic stars."

Now, fans, friends, and family can pay tribute at the Patsy Cline Memorial

"Right now, there is a stone at the bottom of the hill that was placed at the site where the - well, the plane actually came apart in the trees - but where the engine cratered," said Kee. "It's a little difficult to get to. We created this new walkway last year that makes it a little easier to get down the hill."

There are big plans for the memorial that start with the sales of commemorative bricks.

"Eventually, a portion of that money will be set aside to help create a performing arts center, possibly named after all four victims of the crash here in Benton County," said Kee.

Kee says it's the responsibility of the community to create and maintain a site where fans can pay their respects.

"Forty years after Patsy Cline's death, her fans voted her the number one female country artist of all time," said Kee. "People remember. And they want to go and pay their respects. And they need a good, well developed area to do that in a proper way."

The 50th anniversary of the crash is this March. Leaders in Benton county say they're planning shows and a ceremony for the fallen stars.

If you're interested in purchasing a commemorative brick for the Patsy Cline Memorial, contact the Benton County/Camden Chamber of Commerce at chamber1@usit.net, or (731) 584-8395.
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