Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where to find country music celebrity graves in Nashville

Johnny Cash's Grave - photo by Jessica Blankenship
Among the sights and sounds of Nashville, there is a different side of life. It is the final resting place that many in country music call home. As fans flock to the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman, or perhaps a trip down on Broadway, many go and pay their respects of music legends that have died. Two notable cemeteries that are now the eternal home of many country music celebrities are Spring Hill Cemetery and Woodlawn Memorial Park.

Since 1785, Spring Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery has been a Nashville landmark. Located at 5110 Gallatin Road at Briley Parkway, the cemetery is home to many notable grave sites. Among those buried include Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, George Morgan, Keith Whitley, Gilbert “Speck” Rhodes, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford, Dean Manuel, Clifton Beverly Briley, Bunny Biggs, Billy Walker, Pete Drake, Louise Scruggs, Johnny Wright, and more.

Woodlawn Memorial Park is located at 660 Thompson Lane in Nashville. Many country music dignitaries are buried here including Eddy Arnold and his wife Sally, Tootsie Bess of the famed Tootsie’s Bar, Owen Bradley, Stoney Cooper, Red Foley, Johnny Paycheck, Webb Pierce, Marty Robbins, Little Jimmy Dickens, Red Sovine, Porter Waggoner, Jerry Reed, J.D. Sumner, and Van Stephenson. Tammy Wynette is also buried in the mausoleum.  Ironically, she was buried as Tammy Wynette, but then her husband replaced it with her non-stage name of Virginia Richardson.  Last year, it was changed back to Tammy Wynette at the request of her family.

One of the interesting stories is that George Jones is buried in the Woodlawn Memorial. A large monument was built to stand at his grave. Not far from his grave is that of Johnny Paycheck. Jones paid for Paycheck’s burial as Paycheck was unable to afford it.

On up the road in Hendersonville, you can visit the resting place of Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Mother Maybelle Carter, Merle Kilgore, Johnny Russell, Luther Perkins, and more at the Hendersonville Memorial Gardens. In Gallatin, you can visit Conway Twitty in the Sumner Memorial Gardens. Be sure to look for Harold Jenkins in the outside mausoleum. Originally known as “The Voice,” Vern Gosdin is located at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.

Even in death, many country music celebrities still make an impact in others’ lives as they pay their respects to these legends