BoxCar Willie Mourned
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) - BoxCar Willie's last appearance drew a full house.
About 1,000 people filled the entertainer's theater Saturday to say goodbye to America's singing hobo. BoxCar Willie, whose given name was Lecil Travis Martin, died Monday of leukemia at age 67.
Among the mourners were Branson stars such as Mel Tillis, Andy Williams, Jim Stafford and Yakov Smirnoff. And nearly each one had a warm memory to share about the friend they called ``Box.''
Tillis recalled serving in the Air Force with him in Nebraska 45 years ago: ``I was a baker and he was a flight engineer. He used to come by the place where I did my baking, and we'd sit on the flour sacks and pick our guitars.''
The Rev. Cliff Braschler's eulogy was interspersed with video clips from shows, and many mourners wept and then smiled as they heard songs like ``The Wabash Cannonball'' and ``I've Seen It All From a Boxcar Door.''
Braschler let BoxCar Willie have the last word, and the crowd heard him sing:
Afterward, hundreds filed past an open coffin to view the performer in his full hobo regalia, an American flag at his side. An Air Force color guard honored BoxCar Willie at a brief graveside service.
(© AP 1999.)
Picked by Center Square.