On Thursday, May 2, 2013, George Jones left the Grand Ole Opry House for the final time. Family, friends and fans — literally from around the world — piled into the 4,400-seat home of the longest-running U.S. radio show to honor the 81-year-old life’s — all of it — from reputation as “No Show” Jones to when, as Brad Paisley put it, he “finally got it right.”
The legendary singer-songwriter, who passed away on Friday, April 26, was remembered by the biggest names and voices in country music, including Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Randy Travis, Wynonna, Barbara Mandrell and Charlie Daniels.
The Possum’s influence was also seen in the presence of non-musicians who took the stage to honor his life. These included former First Lady Laura Bush, who brought sympathies from her in-laws former President George H. W. Bush and wife Barbara, and shared stories of her husband, former President George W. Bush, working out in the White House to “White Lightning.” Current Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also spoke.
Additional famous faces could be seen in the audience, too, including Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Jamey Johnson all sitting in the first row with George’s wife Nancy. Martina McBride, Ronnie Dunn, Travis Tritt, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kid Rock and Ronnie Milsap were also in attendance.
While George Jones’ body lay in a flower-covered coffin in front of the iconic Grand Ole Opry stage, his friends were upbeat and light-hearted as they shared their favorite memories of his life.