PHOTO BY: WANDA WINKLER
March 25 was the seven-year anniversary of the death of Buck Owens. So where is the country western music legend? He is buried in The Buck Owens Family mausoleum in Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery, 2739 Panama Lane, Bakersfield. The mausoleum, also named “Buck’s Place,” is the largest structure in the graveyard except for the Georgian mansion used for the office and mortuary building. He is interred in the mausoleum which also contains his mother and the ashes of his first wife, Bonnie Campbell Owens. Some people go to the graveyard looking for Buck. Others write books about his ghost. “The Ghost of Buck Owens: And Other Tales From the San Joaquin,” by Steve Sorensen was released in 2011.
Chris Porfiri, 47, who works at Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery said, “there have been a couple of times when folks will stop into the park and ask where they can find Buck Owens’s grave– so we direct them to the mausoleum.” For more details on finding his grave go to http://www.findagrave.com.
Bakersfield’s most popular entertainer, Owens was born Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr., in Sherman, Texas, to a sharecropping family and moved to Bakersfield when he was 21 years old. He signed a recording contract with Los Angeles music giant Capital Records in 1957, and his career took off from there. He became one of America’s top country western musicians, singers, writers, and entrepreneurs. The Crystal Palace, his legacy museum located at 2800 Buck Owens Blvd., is a unique masterpiece exhibiting exquisite western charm, history, and hometown hospitality. Owens left a sensational mark on this city, including his last No.1 hit song titled, “The Streets of Bakersfield.” For more information go to http://www.buckowens.com.
Dave Lyman, 55, from the Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau said he’s never been asked about Owens’ grave site. However, “large numbers of tour buses stop here on their way to someplace else, like Fresno, Yosemite, or Sequoia National Park. They are not making a pilgrimage to Bakersfield to see the Crystal Palace specifically or to go to Buck Owens’ grave,” Lyman said.
“The bus drivers are only allowed to drive so many hours a day, so they stop in Bakersfield because it is the midway point between several locations. Fortunately, the Crystal Palace is conveniently located and because they serve great meals, it’s a favorite location for the bus drivers and the passengers,” Lyman said.
Buck Owens made his mark in life as a composer, singer, entrepreneur, and publisher, and in death with his majestic burial site. His mausoleum is original and available to the public free of charge at Greenlawn Cemetery. “After all,” Lyman said, “it’s not like you have a Crystal Palace or Buck Owens in every town.”