Charles Carr, 79, driver of Hank Williams’ last ride
By BOB JOHNSON Associated Press July 2, 2013 5:52PM
Charles Carr is shown at the graves of Hank and Audrey Williams in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Ala. in this Monday, January 1, 2007 photo. Carr died on Monday July 1, 2013, after a brief illness. He was 77. Carr was driving Hank Williams through Oak Hill, W. Va., when Williams died on New Year's Day in 1953. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Julie Bennett)
Updated: August 4, 2013 6:30AM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Charles Carr, who was just 18 when he drove country music legend Hank Williams on his final, lonesome journey, has died.
The director of the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Beth Petty, said Mr. Carr, a retired investor, died Monday after a brief illness. He was 79.
Mr. Carr’s son, Charles Lands Carr, said his father didn’t talk much about being Williams’ driver on that final trip on Jan. 1, 1953, until late in his life.
Williams died during the night in his 1952 blue Cadillac near Bluefield, W.Va., while he and Mr. Carr were on their way to Canton. The Cadillac is on display in the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery.
Mr. Carr began to speak more about Williams’ last ride after he became involved with the museum.
“When he was younger he didn’t have an interest in being defined by that moment in his life,” Lands Carr said. In later years, Lands Carr said the museum “embraced” his father, who became more comfortable talking about that trip with Williams.
“If they invited him, he made a point of being there,” Lands Carr said of the museum.
Petty described Mr. Carr as a friend of the Hank Williams museum and as a man who “was always kind to fans of Hank.” Petty said Mr. Carr never tried to profit from the fact that he was driving the country music singer on that last trip.
Mr. Carr was a friend of the Williams’ family when Williams asked him to drive him from Montgomery to a New Year’s Day concert in Canton, Ohio.
Mr. Carr’s father owned a Montgomery cab company at the time.
“My father drove for them from time to time,” Lands Carr said.