Update from Jeanene - Jan. 4, 1997 part 2

Report from Jeanene Van Zandt 1/4/97 part 2
Jeanene volunteered this story over the phone to help clear up rumors about how Townes died. I have tried to record it accurately, but there may be errors - LC.

Townes fell and hurt his hip on Christmas eve, and didn't want to see a doctor or anyone. So they rented him a wheel chair and he stayed at home over the holidays without medical attention. Finally Jeanene talked him into going to the hospital (after 8 days) on New Years Eve, when they x-rayed and found that it was a broken hip. They decided to perform surgery that same night, so at 1:30 a.m. New Years Eve (New Years' day actually by then), they operated and put a pin in. The next morning Townes did not look too good, and had the shakes that he is known for; Jeanene referred to them as the D.T.s.
Jeanene decided to get him home, and signed the papers for early release from the hospital. They got him home, where he rested in his wheel chair for a couple hours, and was in good spirits, laughing and joking. Jeanene fixed Townes a plate of cheese and crackers and ham and was getting him to eat when the phone rang. It was Suzanna Clark calling so Jeanene talked to her on the phone and left Katie Belle and Will to watch him. Will had just asked Townes if he needed anything, went to the bathroom, and after 4 minutes or so came back in and saw that Townes appeared to be dead. Katie said "Daddy had a fight with his heart". Jeanene went in and saw Townes looked dead.
She called 911, and started CPR on Townes. A fire rescue person arrived after 15 minutes or so and continued the CPR. Then the paramedics came and attempted to get his heart going again using the defibrillator, and got a little bit of a heart beat briefly, but it was not enough. They took him to the hospital but when Jeanene arrived soon after she knew from the look on the ER personnel's faces that Townes could not be revived.

There is no coronor's report yet, they think a blood clot from his hip moved to his heart and caused a heart attack.

Townes had wanted to be cremated, and for his ashes to be spread over Fort Worth and over Van Zandt County (which is East of Dallas). The courthouse has statues of Townes' great-great-great grandparents Isaac and Francis Van Zandt, amoung the founding fathers of Texas.

Townes had just started a recording project with Geffen records, and had been in the studio with producer Steve Shelly, where perhaps they had put down 4 or 5 songs. As Townes was there during the week with his broken hip, Jeanene is not sure how the songs will come out.

The live album Hiway Kind that Townes and Harold Eggers put together will be out from Sugar Hill in a couple months. Sugar Hill is also reissueing Rear View Mirror soon. The long awaited 60 song CD compilation is also still in the works.

Jeanene is thankful that Townes died with his family at home and not on the road somewhere alone.
She said Hank Williams was Townes' idol, and that they died on the same day.

Leonard Coop coopl@bcc.orst.edu