Cassie Gaines

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January 9, 1948 – October 20, 1977

Cassie Gaines enjoyed a typical childhood in Miami, Oklahoma. She was a cheerleader in high school and was known for her school spirit and for performing on stage. A love for performing led her to a career as a singer, ultimately landing an invitation to join the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd as one of their three backing singers…collectively known as “The Honkettes.”

Cassie joined Skynyrd’s live shows in 1975 alongside fellow Honkettes Leslie Hawkins and JoJo Billingsley. The trio appeared on the live album One More from the Road and recorded two singles for the band’s fifth album, Street Survivors. Six months after she joined, Cassie urged her younger brother, Steve, to audition for the band’s vacant guitar player job. He did and brother and sister shared the stage for more than 150 shows during the height of the band’s popularity. But the good times would be short-lived. Tragedy struck in October of 1977, when the band’s plane crashed in Mississippi between shows on tour to support Street Survivors. 29 year-old Cassie Gaines and her brother were both killed in the crash along with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, road manager Dean Kilpatrick, and the two pilots. The band in general, and the Gaines family in particular, suffered and unfathomable loss. Cassie and her brother were both laid to rest in the band’s hometown of Jacksonville.

Burial

Jacksonville Memory Gardens – Jacksonville, FL

Specific Location

Enter the cemetery and turn left toward the office/chapel. Steve and Cassie’s graves are across the road from the back of the office.

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