This story reprinted from
Patsy Cline’s Devoted Fan:
chance encounter one evening 35 years ago between country legend Patsy Cline and
a devoted fan blossomed into a close friendship that thrived until Cline's death
The accidental meeting
and the beautiful relationship that followed is the true story behind the play Always...
Patsy Cline which has toured the country to rave reviews and packed Houses.
The hit two-woman play
is based on Patsy’s friendship with Louise Seger, who remains a devoted Patsy
fan to this day. The play has been one of
Nashville’s top attractions for the past two years, drawing nearly a quarter
of a million fans to the Ryman Auditorium.
Contacted by COUNTRY
WEEKLY at her home in Peel, Ark., Louise recalled her fondest memories of Patsy,
whose Greatest Hits album continues to top the charts after 4 1/2 years.
“The first time I
heard Patsy was back in 1957 on the Arthur
Godfrey Show and I thought, ‘Good Lord, that’s how I’d like to
sing,’ said Ms. Seger, now 63. However, it was four years and a divorce before
Louise heard Patsy again and began hounding the local disc jockey to play her
songs. It wasn’t long before the DJ informed Louise that Patsy was performing
in town that weekend.
“We arrived so early
we were the only people there,” Louise explains. “I saw a woman walk in and
sit down at a table. I knew it was Patsy. I decided to get real brave and
introduce myself. She turned to me with that open smile and we just clicked.
"The person inside
me recognized the person who lived inside her. It was truly eerie.”
Patsy joined Louise and
her friends and after the show accepted an invitation to Louise’s home for a
late-night breakfast. “It was like I was living in a dream. There was Patsy
Cline in my kitchen helping me fix bacon and eggs. She took her shoes off and
wore an apron I gave her.
“She told me about
her life, her hopes, her dreams. We discussed loves lost, loves found, loves yet
“We talked about her
troubled marriage and the pain she endured being away from her children. It was
just two people baring their souls.
“We both sang and
harmonized old Gospel songs and hillbilly tunes. We sat there and smoked and
sang until 4:00 in the morning.”
Louise rushed Patsy to
the airport, expecting never to hear from her again. But within two weeks,
Louise received her first in what was to be many letters and phone calls they
“I often would
receive calls at 1:00 in the morning. She’d be singing in some town wanting a
friend to talk to.”
They remained close
even during difficult times, such as Patsy’s frightening car accident that
occurred months after they met.
“I was driving to
work when I heard about it on the radio,” Louise said. “The woman in the
other car had died. Patsy suffered
severe facial cuts, a broken pelvis and & broken leg. I sent her letters
every day. She had a long, long recuperation.”
In 1988 Louise was
surprised by a phone call from a friend who told her, “I just saw you
onstage.” Louise replied, “What have you been drinking?” Louise soon
learned the biography that featured her interview had been adapted and produced
as a musical.
Louise, an elegant and
witty blonde, was pleased but dismayed with her character’s portrayal as the
play’s comic relief.
“I’ve never had red
hair, certainly not in a beehive. I don’t wear tacky clothes or have that
accent. When my daughter saw it in Nashville, she just broke down and cried. She
said, ‘You’ve never been that way in your life. I don’t want you to be
remembered that way.’”
treasures the memory of the last time she saw Patsy. “It was after a
performance in Houston. I told her I was getting married and moving to Brazil.
She said, ‘Louise, you’ve got to be crazy.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you might be
Louise packed up her
two kids and traveled to an isolated area near the Amazon River in Brazil.
Things didn’t work out with her intended, but an adventurous Louise decided
to stay awhile and enrolled her kids in a missionary school.
Months later she
recalled: “I was singing one of Patsy’s songs at a bar one night when this
man asked whose song I was singing. I said Patsy Cline. He said, ‘Isn’t that
the gal who just died in the plane crash?’ He insisted he’d read it in Life magazine.
“I got the magazine
and sat down and slowly turned the pages.”
“Sure enough, there
was a two-page spread about the crash with a picture of the site. It was like a
physical blow to my gut. I couldn’t believe it. A part of my life had ended
and I made plans that day to return home.”
Through the ups and
downs of Louise’s life; which included three marriages and the tragic death of
her son in 1979, Louise never forgot the special relationship she shared with
“The last glimpse I
have of Patsy in my mind was after the Houston show. She held up a bottle of
bourbon, winked and said, ‘I’ll see you, hoss.’ It was a favorite expression of
We are sad to announce that Louise Seger Zurbuchen has passed away. Though we never met her, we feel like we knew her and we send our condolences to her family. The following was published in the Houston Chronicle on November 7, 2004:
SEGER ZURBUCHEN (NEE EVERETT) passed away October 28,2004 at her home on
Ms. Zurbuchen was pre-deceased by her son David Seger of
As part of the prize, she toured with the Louisiana Hayride where she became friends with country star Little Jimmy Dickens. Louise moved to
An escapade as a young, divorced mother of two resulted in a friendship with legendary country and pop vocalist Patsy Cline, with whom she maintained a lengthy correspondence and series of phone calls. This aspect of Ms. Zurbuchen's life was documented in the biographies Patsy Cline: An Intimate Biography and Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline and became the basis of the international music revue Always, Patsy Cline, which premiered at Houston's Stages Repertory and went on to become a show business phenomenon. As a result, Ms. Zurbuchen gained a legion of fans from around the world.
She will be missed by her devoted family and friends.
We understand Louise was in bad health the last few years due to emphysema. Below you will find the letter that her husband, Ed Zurbuchen, sent out.
This e-mail is to all of Louise's, and my friends on the internet. I'm sorry to tell you that Louise passed away.
I know a lot of you will be what-the-helling that you haven't heard any thing previously, but this is the way Louise wanted to do it. She asked me to tell absolutely no-one about her condition until after she was gone. She wanted, and had, no visitors or phone calls; no one except myself and the hospice nurses to see her.
She slipped away very quietly and peacefully at 9 PM Thursday, 10/28/04. According to her wishes she was sent for direct cremation and there will be no services. We have no memorial planned and we haven't yet sent out an obituary.
You can drop me an e-mail if you like. I'd be glad to hear from you.
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