[color=#000099]I've attended many of these memorial service over the years but was unable to attend Del's today. Vince was there and here's a nice review thanks to my friend Marty M.
I just returned home from the Del Reeve's Memorial Service, held at the Ryman Auditorium, where he was inducted as a member in October 1966. Eddie Stubbs, Grand Ole Opry announcer and WSM/AM disc-jockey presided over the ceremonies, and as usual he was great, with many stories of Del's career, and several radio exerpts from radio interviews he had done with Del. Truly the interviews were who Del Reeve's was. Stu Phillips gave the opening prayer, but took time out to remember some great times he enjoyed with his friend Del Reeves.
Vince Gill sang "Go Rest High On The Mountain," as only Vince Gill could do. He asked us to join with him on the chorus, and I tell you it was chilling to hear everyone join in. I mean this sincerely, it sounded like a special choir with each singer having a harmony part. It was absolutely beautiful, and as usual when Vince sings his song, there were many tears of joy and sadness. The Lord has gifted Vince Gill with a special way to touch people with his voice.
Then Terry Choate a longtime successful member of our music community and probably Del's closest friend spoke about Del with stories of his first meeting and his last conversation, and in between, he spoke about Del's awesome Good Time Charlie's Band with some great stories. George Owens who played guitar and base with Del was with us in the audience and I know that he must have been laughing when he heard Terry tell the stories. I can tell you this friends, because I toured with Del many times, and Del Reeve's and The Good Time Charlie's took no prisoners when before they hit the stage, while they were on the stage and watch out after they left the stage. Now for those of you who read this and don't understand what I am saying, it probably would be hard to understand if you never had the privilege to tour with Del and his band. Back then, that it when there was great entertainment, no prima dona's, no ego's with road mgrs., just great talented groups, and Del Reeves was a teacher of entertainment and of living life to its' fullest. He loved his family, his music, his band, his friends and fans, and the Grand Ole Opry. Oh yea, George Owen's looked great.
John & Audrey Wiggins who hail from N.C. also and knew Del well, sang "Wayfaring Stranger," and if you have never heard them sing before, then you have missed something special. They were awesome.
The closing prayer was given by Bill McDonald from Centerville, Tn., Del's home. I believe he probably was a minister in Centerville. He gave a great prayer and read from the scriptures some of Del's favorite psalms.
To close the ceremonies, Billy Montana a singer, songwriting friend of Del's, sang "Amazing Grace," and asked all to join with him to sing along if they wished. Once again the voices in the Ole Ryman today were special as the old church sounded like she saying "so long" to Del, but not goodbye.
I know that Ellen, Del's wife and her and Del's three beautiful daughters must have felt that special feeling that touched those who were in attendance, and the ceremony was a ceremony of his life on this earth, and I know he must have been watching, and if I know Del, he was trying to teach The Good Lord how to phrase Doodle Loo Doooo Doooo. Isn't it funny that the "Girl on the Billboard," continues to live on and on, thanks to Del Reeve's.
Del's Grand Ole Opry family were represented by Jack Greene, Jim Ed Brown, Charlie Louvin, Bill Anderson, Vince Gill, former Grand Ole Opry backstage manager Jerry Stroebel, backstage production manager Tim Thompson, and if I missed any Opry members I am sorry. I know that Jeannie Seely and Jean Shepard were touring in Florida and could not attend, and other Opry members were on tour. There was no one in attendance that I seen from the front office of the Grand Ole Opry. Also in attendance was Bobby Wright. Johnny Wright and Kitty Wells were not able to attend, so Bobby was there for them also. As you may or may not know, Bobby and Del were very, very close friends.
Also glad to see Penny DeHaven, Bill Phillips, Ann Tant, Libby Griggs, Johnny Counterfit (Looked Great), Diane Jordan, Rena Tessier, Norro Wilson, and so many more that were friends and associates of Del, that I did not know.
Del Reeve's will be missed by the Grand Ole Opry, his fellow Opry friends, the entire music industry and his fans. His music will always be here, because who in the world will ever be able to DOODLE LOO DOOOO DOOO.
Thanks to Eddie Stubbs for always being the carrying the torch for country music with the living and with those that have passed.