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50 years after her death, Patsy Cline's life is celebrated

By Sally Voth

The 50th anniversary of legendary singer Patsy Cline's death next month is being commemorated with tours of her home, songs and a memorial service.

"Most times, you're remembering the death part," said JudySue Huyett-Kempf, executive director of the Patsy Cline Historic House. "We're remembering the death part, but we're also celebrating her life."

Cline was 30 when she died in a plane crash in Tennessee on March 5, 1963. She is buried in Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester.

There will be a week of tributes beginning exactly 50 years after her death, according to a news release from Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc., a nonprofit group dedicated to her legacy.

Starting March 5, and going through March 9, the Patsy Cline Historic House, located at 608 S. Kent St., will be open for tours from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $8, with seniors charged $6, and free admission for active members of the military.

The release states special arrangements are needed for groups of more than nine people.

Cline's home is usually only open April through October, Huyett-Kempf said.

There will be a free celebration of Cline's life frin 8-11 p.m. March 9 in the George Washington Hotel's Half-Note Lounge, according to the release.

Patsy Cline tribute singer Liz Ruffner will perform. She is from Charles Town, W.Va., and her in-laws own the Rainbow Road Cub, where Cline used to stop in on her way to perform in Brunswick, Md., Huyett-Kempf said.

Omps Funeral Home-South Chapel will host an indoor memorial service at 3 p.m. March 10. Those who knew Cline and those touched by her music will speak, according to the release.

There will then be a gathering at Cline's final resting place, the release states.

While Cline's fan club usually lays flowers at her grave, this is the first time there's been a memorial service since her funeral, according to Huyett-Kempf.

"If [fans] have a chance, please attend, please come, and help us remember her," Huyett-Kempf said. "What's so unique is she was buried 50 years ago on March 10, and it was on a Sunday, and here it is 50 years later, and we're remembering her on the same day, a Sunday."

Plans have been in the works for quite a while, she said.

"[We're] very happy to be able to do this," Huyett-Kempf said. "Some of her extended family will be here."

The release states floral tributes can be delivered to Omps Funeral Home-South Chapel, c/o Patsy Cline Memorial Service, 1260 Front Royal Pike, Winchester, Va. 22602. The phone number is 540-722-2400.

The George Washington Hotel is offering a limited number of rooms at a reduced rate for the week of March 5-9. The hotel's number is 540-678-4700.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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