The Funeral

Hank Williams body was returned to Montgomery on January 3rd. He laid in state at his mother's boarding house where thousands of mourners came to pay respects to the fallen star. His casket was adorned with guitar shaped arrangements made by local flower shops. Several days after the funeral Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were passing through Montgomery and stopped to give their condolences to the Williams family. They signed the register which has since been lost.

The funeral was held on January 4th. Over 25,000 people came to Montgomery to pay their own tributes to Williams. It was the largest crowd to gather in Montgomery in it's history, a record that still holds true to this day. The site of the Funeral was the City Auditorium. A site where Hank had performed many times through out his career. Only 2,750 were able to get inside. The rest listened as the funeral was broadcast on a PA system outside in the streets and in Lister Hill Park, where a life size statue of Hank would be erected 38 years later.

The casket was brought in at 1:00pm and opened fifteen minutes later. Hank was dressed in one of his white stage suits, in his hands there was a small white bible. Standing honor guard were The Drifting Cowboys.

Hundreds filed past, weeping openly, four women fainted during the course of the funeral. At 2:30 the doors to the auditorium were closed and Dr. Henry Lyon introduced Ernest Tubb to the stage, with tears in his eyes he sang "Beyond The Sunset". Also in attendance were Opry stars Roy Acuff, Jimmy Dickens, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, Bill Monroe, Red Foley, Ray Price, June Carter and Johnnie and Jack Wright.

The family sat in the first few rows. Audrey, Billie Jean, and Hank's mother Lillian all on the front row. His father Lon sat in the third row.

Hank and Red Foley had made a promise to each other; whichever one died first, the other had to sing 'Peace In The Valley" at the others funeral, Red followed through on his end, his voice cracking by the time he finished holding back tears. Dr. Lyon gave a finally lengthy eulogy and the procession proceeded into the street and to nearby Oak Hill Cemetery.

Fred Rose, his son Wesley and old friend Braxton Schuffert were among those that carried Hank's casket to it's grave. People crowded the cemetery to say goodbye the old driftin' cowboy for the last time. Dr. Henry Lyons gave a rosebud to each survivor and with that the funeral was over and Hank Williams was gone forever.