Virginia Patterson Hensley (September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963) was a popular country singer. She married Gerald Cline in 1953 and began using the name Patsy Cline.
Appearing on the nationally televised “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” program in 1957 Patsy Cline sang a pop tune, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and won. The song became an instant hit with both country and pop music fans. She continued with the country hit, “A Poor Man’s Roses”
In 1961 Patsy’s “I Fall to Pieces” and a song written by Willie Nelson, “Crazy” along with “She’s Got You” established her as a major star on Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.
Ironically, with her “Leavin’ On Your Mind,” in the country music top ten and Patsy Cline just 30 years of age, she would die in a private plane crash on March 3, 1963. Two more hits followed her death, “Sweet Dreams of You,” and “Faded Love.”
During her short career, Patsy Cline was awarded 12 prestigious awards for her achievements in music and three more following her death. She was buried in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia where a bell tower, erected in her memory, plays hymns daily at 6:00 p.m., the hour of her death. Her mother had her grave marked with a simple bronze plaque, which reads: “Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies: Love”. A memorial marks the place where the plane crashed outside of Camden, Tennessee.
While Patsy Cline’s life may have ended, her fan following certainly didn’t as her life and career have acquired almost iconic status, so that she has become a bigger star in death than she was in life.
In 1973 Patsy Cline was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.