How Did Jim Croce Wife Die?
Jim Croce, a popular folk singer who had several Billboard number one hits, died at the height of his burgeoning career on September 20, 1973. He was 30 years old.
Croce began performing with his wife, Ingrid, as a duo in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They performed on the college music circuit, singing songs by Ian and Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Joan Baez, and Woody Guthrie.
Each September 20, people remember the tragedy that robbed the music world of a talented and promising singer-songwriter. Jim Croce was 30 when he and five others died in a plane crash that occurred the day before his single “I Got A Name” was set to drop.
Despite the success of his first two albums, Croce had been burned out by the road and was ready for a break. He had a baby on the way and hoped to spend time with his family after he finished his tour.
Unfortunately, the flight he was on crashed shortly after takeoff in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Pilot Robert N. Elliott, Croce’s manager and booking agent Ken Cortese, musician Maury Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, and road manager Dennis Rast all died in the accident. Corboy & Demetrio partner Tom Demetrio obtained a jury verdict in the wrongful death suit on behalf of Linda Cortese, Ken’s widow. The verdict was more than the insurance coverage, so a Bad Faith case was brought against the insurers.
Jim Croce’s career started slowly, playing at fraternity parties and working construction crews for a living. But when he teamed up with a musician friend and record producer Tommy West, he began hitting the coffeehouse circuit in New York.
The album, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, became a hit, and Croce began gaining a following on the college concert tour. But he was also burnt out on the road and looking to settle down.
When he and his wife discovered that they were expecting a baby, Croce became more determined to make music his career. He sent a cassette of his latest songs to a producer in New York City with the hope that he would get a record deal. When their son A. J. Croce was born in September of 1971, Ingrid became a stay-at-home mom and Jim went on the road to promote his music.
The story of Jim Croce is well known to music fans; he died in a plane crash on September 20, 1973 at the age of 30 leaving behind a string of hits including Bad Bad Leroy Brown and Time in a Bottle. He also left behind a young son named A.J.
The book is written by his widow Ingrid and gives a balanced view of the man who was behind the legend. She discusses his deep yearning to succeed in a very competitive industry. She is open and honest about his shortcomings and the problems they faced as a couple.
The crash occurred after he and his band performed at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The plane was headed to Sherman, Texas to perform at another college. The Beechcraft E18 had just lifted off the runway and clipped a tree before it crashed. All seven people on board, including the pilot, were killed instantly.
The Flight Attendant
Ingrid Croce is a familiar sight in downtown San Diego, where her late husband’s face and name appear on the sign outside Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar. She also published a cookbook called Thyme In A Bottle: Memories and Recipes From Jim Croce’s Restaurant with her second husband, attorney Jim Rock.
She has two children, including son A.J., who has been performing his father’s songs on tour. Though the tragedies of Croce’s life were many, her family has moved forward with strength and dignity.
Corboy & Demetrio Partner Thomas A. Demetrio obtained a jury verdict in federal court on behalf of the estate of Ken Cortese, the booking agent who was killed along with Jim Croce and four other people in the 1973 plane crash. He has successfully represented other victims of bad faith by insurance companies in wrongful death claims. He also negotiated multimillion-dollar settlements on behalf of injured victims. The firm is known for its skill in representing injured people and their families.
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