The singer died in West Virginia on Jan. 1, 1953 at the age of 29. He is buried in Montgomery in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex, and his grave site — which features a marble replica of his cowboy hat, as well as gray and white marble monuments to both Williams and his wife Audrey — is one of the state’s top tourist attractions. In 2004 the owner of the cemetery passed away without leaving a plan for succession, and the state’s insurance department assumed responsibility.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the city took over maintenance of the cemetery in 2009, after a picture of it looking overgrown drew unwanted media attention. “We as a city couldn’t allow it to be all overgrown when we have all those visitors,” he tells the Montgomery Advertiser.
Strange says the state promised to find a way to reimburse the city, and that’s why they have introduced the pending legislation, which would allow the city to formally assume ownership of the cemetery and provide $125,000 toward any associated costs. Strange says the site costs $5,000-$7,000 per year to maintain.