Fans Say Goodbye to the Man Who Sang the Soundtrack to Their Lives - Scott Couch
Updated: Thursday, October 17 2013, 02:34 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - George Jones' widow Nancy understood his relationship with the fans. It's one of the reasons she decided to have a public memorial service. It was truly a celebration of Jones' life, and it gave his fans a chance to say goodbye to the man who sang the soundtrack to their lives. With vintage Jones coming from the speakers on the Grand Ole Opry plaza, fans by the thousands lined up to pay their final respects to a singer with a one of a kind voice.
"It was just the best," says Cassie Gibson of Whitesburg, Kentucky.
They came from across the state and country to be close to George Jones one last time. His songs spoke to them.
"Just the raw emotion in his voice and he had great songs," says Rory Musil.
Jessee Whelchel calls George Jones his hero. He got here Wednesday morning to be the first in line.
"I live in Dallas but I was in Houston," says Welchel. "The more I thought about it, I just had to turn around and be here, just pay my respects."
For those who knew Jones personally like country star Tracy Lawrence the draw was even more powerful. Lawrence says he toured with George in the early 90s and spent a lot of time with him in recent years.
"Really got to see a wonderful man with a very sweet nature, you know, in spite of all the stories you've heard over the years," says Lawrence. "I'm glad so many people have come out here to support him and send him off like this."
"Back in 2007, I fell and broke my wrist and couldn't travel for Thanksgiving to see my mom," says country artist Buddy Jewell. "So, Nancy and George found out and had us out to their house for Thanksgiving that year. So they've just been really special people to us."
Once the line started moving, it became apparent there were more fans than seats in the Opry House. Those who made the cut were like lottery winners. Those who didn't watched and listened online.
"Everyone knows the absolute fact that George Jones was and always will be the greatest singer of all time in country music," says country singer Barbara Mandrell.
A final curtain call as George Jones leaves the Opry House for the last time, leaving a house full of fans wanting more. George Jones' music will live forever and the celebration of his life opens the door for a new generation of fans to discover him.