Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

May 2, 2013

Music City mourns

Humor marks funeral of legend George Jones

Athens — NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — For a guy who sang so many sad songs, George Jones left behind a lot of laughs.

There was more humor than sadness at Jones' funeral Thursday at the Grand Ole Opry House as thousands gathered in Nashville — some arriving hours before sunrise — to pay their respects to the man whose voice has defined country music for more than half a century.

Friend after friend related stories of Jones' kindness, his love for his widow, Nancy, who's credited with helping him survive his personal demons later in life, and the funny little moments that will stick with them always.

Barbara Mandrell remembered the kindnesses he gave a scared 13-year-old girl just getting her start in the business. Former first lady Laura Bush remembered dumping quarter after quarter into the jukebox to hear "The Race Is On." Wynonna Judd remembered his perfect hair and his friendship. And Vince Gill remembered the man who gave him the nickname "Sweet Pea," a moniker he wasn't sure he liked at first but now treasures.

"The great thing is every time someone calls me Sweet Pea, I'll get to think about him," Gill said before earning a standing ovation for his rendition of "Go Rest High on That Mountain" with Patty Loveless.

The nearly 3-hour memorial was attended by several major country stars and political figures. Nancy Jones sat flanked by Bush and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam spoke, as did former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. CBS host Bob Schieffer recalled a 2009 interview with Jones where the singer's true personality seemed to show through.

"I came away feeling his whole life was a surprise to him and he never quite believed any of it," Schieffer said.

Each of the stars who performed had a personal connection to Jones. Randy Travis, who was anointed a traditional country voice by Jones, sang "Amazing Grace," a song Jones had once put his own personal stamp upon.

"When I heard him do this song, it literally gave me chills," Travis said.

But, it may have been Charlie Daniels who summed up Jones best in a long, beautifully rendered tribute. He noted Jones was probably the most imitated country singer of all time.

"George Jones' voice was a rowdy Saturday night uproar at a back-street beer joint, the heartbroken wail of the one who wakes up to find the other side of the bed empty, the far-off lonesome whistle of the midnight train, the look in the eyes of a young bride as that ring is placed on her finger, the memories of a half-asleep old man dreaming about the good old days," Daniels said. "Lost love, lost innocence, good and bad memories, and experiences that are just too much for a human being to deal with. He sang for us all, the non-stop partiers, the guys who are alone and the girl done wrong, the puppy lovers, the extrovert, the introvert and the guy at the end of the bar who never seems to go home ... George had a song for everybody."

The funeral was broadcast live on cable music television channels CMT and GAC and — in a nod to simpler times when Jones was at his biggest — on all local television networks.

The Beaumont, Texas, native was in the midst of a farewell tour that was to have wrapped up with an all-star salute in November in Nashville when he died. He postponed two performances two weeks ago and entered the hospital with a fever and irregular blood pressure. He'd been ill off and on over the previous year.

Jones' pure, matchless baritone defined the sound of country music for a half century, and his death brought universal reaction from the music community and fans. Known for hits like "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes," ''White Lightning" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which Alan Jackson used to close the memorial, Jones had No. 1s in four decades from the 1950s to the 1980s and "Possum" remained a popular figure in Music City until his death.

"Brother George taught us how to sing with a broken heart," Gill said.

Paisley said even though Jones has passed on, his legacy is still there, ready to inspire. He urged young viewers who might be tuning in to check out Jones' music.

"You must be thinking, 'Boy, they're making a ruckus,'" Paisley said. "I would encourage you if you don't know him, go find him now. Go buy his records and see what all this ruckus is about because it's worth it."

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-23 Victoria.jpg Emotional response given to Victoria's death

    The tragic news of 4-year-old Victoria Wyatt’s violent death set off an emotional response on Monday, with words of consolation for the child’s family and anger at the girl’s mother who admitted to taking her life. But mostly sorrow at the loss of one so young.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD readies for annual backpack distribution

    Athens Independent School District and the Help Center are teaming up once again to provide backpacks and supplies to students in need.
    The annual Back-to-School Bash is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Athens High School gym during the family fun day.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 Open house grace house.jpg Open house at Grace House transition location

    Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake, a faith-based transitional home for women, held an open house on Monday evening. The facility for women is 6,000 square feet on 13 acres in Tool.
    Grace House includes a kitchen and a classroom equipped with computers for training and practice, as well as dorm-type rooms for the residents.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0007.JPG MISD approves re-election order

    The Malakoff Independent School Board of Trustees approved their order of elections on Monday, as all five members are up for re-election on Nov. 4.
    President Jason Dalrymple, Vice President Gary Woolverton, Secretary Daymon Sims and Rick Vieregge (appointed to fill Todd LaRue's seat) are the four spots up for the 4-year terms. LaRue resigned from the board on June 16.
    Tim Mattingly, who was appointed in February, is up for election to fill the remaining two years of that term.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif BISD tax rate, meal prices remain same

    The tax rate for Brownsboro Independent School District is expected to remain the same for the 2014-15 school year following Monday's school board meeting.
    Superintendent Dr. Chris Moran recommended the rate of $1.46 per $100 evaluation remain in place, despite a slight increase in the preliminary budget.
    The maintenance and operations rate will remain at $1.17, while the interest and sinking rate remains 29 cents.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif County names those to fill unexpired terms

    The Henderson County Commissioners Court named individuals to fill unexpired terms on two boards during a brief meeting on Tuesday.
    The court confirmed Gregorio Galvan as a new member of the Henderson County Library Advisory Board. Galvan, the owner and operator of Papa Tilo’s restaurant, will serve the remainder of the term vacated by Gloria Glaspy.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 jeff howard.jpg Howard named top assistant in Region 7

    The Texas Association of Secondary School Principals recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from the 20 regional education service centers in the state each year.
    School administrators are nominated and chosen by their peers within their regions, and then applications from these recipients are reviewed by the TASSP Principal Image Committee who selects the finalists.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Knife-wielding man arrested

    The Athens Police Department arrested a 34-year-old man who allegedly entered an apartment early Saturday and injured another man using a pocket knife.

    July 22, 2014

  • fair Henderson County Rural Resource Fair

    When you find yourself in need of help, it's important to know where to go. The need to know is what drew a crowd to the Trinidad ISD cafeteria Monday morning.
    Approximately 30 non-profit vendors were on hand for the first Rural Resource Fair. The vendors were there to provide information to the public about available resources in Henderson County.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mission Minded

    Eight ladies are in Garland to teach the word of Christ to the area’s Arabic-speaking population.
    Makaye Key of Eustace is part of a group of ladies known as the G.M.A.’s or Girls Missionary Auxilary.

    July 22, 2014