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Ala. man who drove Hank Williams on last trip dies

The Associated Press, Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 12:54pm (PDT)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — 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 Carr, a retired investor, died Monday after a brief illness. He was 79.

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 Carr were on their way to Canton. The Cadillac is on display in the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery.

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 Carr as a friend of the Hank Williams museum and as a man who "was always kind to fans of Hank." Petty said Carr never tried to profit from the fact that he was driving the country music singer on that last trip.

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.

Carr's father owned a Montgomery cab company at the time.

"My father drove for them from time to time," Lands Carr said.

A funeral service for Carr will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Leak Memory Chapel in Montgomery, with the burial following in Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at Leak Memory Chapel.

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