Billy Walker.. 77

Dies in accident…

A great entertainer has a fatel car accident…

I got some mail tonight from one of my close friends that I spent many years on the stage with…

He writes… and quotes from mail he received today… regarding the accident…

Billy Walker Dies

Here’s two reports I send with regret.


From: Marge Hemsworth

Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2006 8:50 PM

Subject: Fwd: Accident kills Billy Walker, wife and musicians
I knew him, one of my favourites! Such sad news!


May 21, 2006

Billy Walker, his wife, Betty, and band members, Charlie Lilly and Danny Patton were all killed early this morning when Billy fell asleep at the wheel and overturned near Montgomery, Al. Billy’s 21 year old grandson was the only survivor and he’s in critical condition.

From: Jerry Murphy


Cc: Jerry’s Bluegrass News

Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 10:31 AM

Subject: Grand Ole Opry legend Billy Walker Dies

Grand Ole Opry legend Billy Walker Dies
Hits included ‘Cross the Brazos at Waco,’ ‘Charlie’s Shoes’

Updated: 7:19 p.m. ET May 21, 2006

FT. DEPOSIT, Ala. - Billy Walker, the Grand Ole Opry legend whose hits included “Charlie’s Shoes” and “Cross the Brazos at Waco,” died in a wreck along an Alabama interstate on Sunday. He was 77.

Walker was killed along with his wife and two of his band members when a van they were riding in ran off Interstate 65 south of Montgomery and overturned, state troopers said.

Killed in the wreck were Bettie Walker, 61; and Charles Lilly Jr. 44, both of Hendersonville, Tenn., and Daniel Patton Sr., 40, of Hermitage, Tenn.

Walker’s grandson, Joshua Brooks, 21, also of Hendersonville, was injured in the accident. He remains in critical condition at an Alabama hospital, officials said.

The group was on their way back to the Nashville area after performing at a show near Gulf Shores, according to Tom Bowers, manager of the Hendersonville Funeral Home.

Bowers said family members have contacted the funeral home, which will be conducting services for the Walkers.

According to the Opry’s Web site, Billy Walker was born in Ralls, Texas, and built an early career as the “Traveling Texan, the Masked Singer of Country Songs” and later shared the stage with Elvis Presley.

Walker joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960.

I replied…

Hi Lew:
How Sad… He was a great entertainer… Driving on those roads… from show-to-show is is a vital part of playing on the stage…


I met Billy Walker back about 35 years ago when I played at the Opry. He was a soft spoken, genuinely nice man, as far as I could tell in just a few passing moments. I recall the first time I saw him he was wearing a white stage suit, and his young son spilled coffee all over it.

He had one of those long extended Checker cab limo’s parked in his driveway in Hendersonville, and I always wondered if travelled in that thing.

Though he never became a major, major star, he had a few hit records and was a member of the Opry for 40+ years. I had not heard anything of him for quite a few years, and I was suprised to hear he was still out there making those long drives on the road. He was well-respected by the musicians and others in the music community. We lost another one of the "nice guys."


Hi dontuck:
I played on a lot of stages where we “covered” his material… He may have been more popular in these parts than in his part of the country… He was an insparation to a lot more “Front” guys than they would own up to… Travelling on those Interstate Highways can Lull you to sleep… so easy… I know… I’ve been on all of them… east of the Mississippi… That I-95 is a Killer… and… so is that East-West I-40… IT’s known as “Driving the Hwy 40… Blues”…