A public celebration of Troy Gentry’s life took place yesterday at the Grand Ole Opry House and as you might expect, many stars came out to sing and pay their respects to the legendary performer, who was killed last week in a helicopter crash.
Artists who took the stage to honor Troy included Trace Adkins, who sang “Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” Charlie Daniels, who sang the Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art” (in a rare appearance without his signature hat); and Little Big Town, who performed the national anthem. The duo Halfway 2 Hazard, who were friends with Gentry performed their song “My Old Kentucky Home,” noting that Troy said he’d help them get to play the Opry, and because of him they now had.
Troy was also eulogized by several friends, including church friend Eddie Lunn, who talked about some of Troy’s darker struggles. “In Troy’s mind, he was never good enough,” Lunn said. “He wanted to be a better person … the problem with simply wanting to be a better person is it lacks purpose. He (condensed the Bible) to one statement, ‘Love God, love others.’ Troy found his why: you love others because God loves you. He didn’t have to be good enough. God just loved him.”
His good friend Rafael Calderon talked of Troy’s love of family, as well as his love for Batman (the Batman signal was beamed onto the wall during the service). “I’m not saying Troy was Batman,” he said. “I’m just saying no one has ever seen Troy and Batman in the same room. He always said, ‘You don’t need superpowers to be a super hero.’”
Vince Gill was also in attendance, and sang his own 1994 ballad, “Whenever You Come Around,” and said some words directed at Troy’s singing partner Eddie Montgomery. “I’m out here to honor a friend, and we’re all here because we feel like family,” Vince said. “We came to be friends through the Opry family. I don’t know where Eddie is, but I hope you’ll lean on this family. Come out there and let this family love you.”
Other artists who came to pay their respects to Troy included Keith Urban, Travis Tritt, Randy Owen, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, andMichael Ray, who all personally made sure to hug Eddie.
The service ended with a prayer from Mike Glenn, Senior Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, with Montgomery Gentry’s “Better Me,” playing over the speakers.
- Following the public service a private internment was held for family and friends. The family asked that in lieu of flowers folks make donations to the T.J. Martell Foundation or The American Red Cross for hurricane relief.
- To watch the entire service for yourself, see the video on the right.