The elite of the country music world turned out to pay tribute at the funeral of JUNE CARTER CASH on Saturday (May 17), as the late wife of Johnny Cash and key member of the enormously influential CARTER FAMILY was laid to rest.
June died last Thursday (May 15) aged 73, from complications following an operation to replace a heart valve. She was buried at Hendersonville First Baptist Church in Tennessee, with 2,000 mourners including family, friends from the music business, Hollywood actress Jane Seymour, and fans.
During the emotional ceremony, gospel songs were sung by Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Larry Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys.
Her 71-year-old husband and musical collaborator Johnny Cash, who has suffered ill health for several years, attended in a wheelchair.
Speaking on behalf of her father, Roseanne Cash said: “My daddy has lost his dearest companion … and his soul mate. If being a wife were a corporation, June would have been a CEO. It was her most treasured role.”
Among those attending were Hank Williams Jr, Kris Kristofferson, Trisha Yearwood and Ricky Skaggs. The church was filled with hundreds of flower arrangements surrounding June’s light blue coffin.
Actress Jane Seymour, who worked with June on ’Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman’ spoke of having “giggling fits” on set, and learning “about acting and love.” June had been in acting classes with Robert Duvall and James Dean, and her last film role was as Duvall’s mother in the 1997 movie ’The Apostle’.
Through a representative, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica praised the Cash family for their charity work there, where they maintain a home. Fans were also given the opportunity to speak of their encounters with June and the effect that her music has had on them.
While she was respected as a musician in her own right and as a member of the Carter Family, which defined popular country music, June’s collaborations with Johnny, whom she wed in 1968, were legendary. She wrote his hit ’Ring Of Fire’, and the pair toured together and enjoyed a career with hits like ’Jackson’.
Her final solo album, ’Press On’ in 1999, won her a Grammy award.
June Carter Cash is survived by her husband, Johnny, daughters Carlene Carter and Rosie, son John Carter Cash, and step-daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy and Cindy.