Friends and family gathered at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday (Jan. 31) to pay their final respects to the legendary country singer, Mel Tillis.
Mel passed away in November at the age of 85, after a battle with intestinal issues in 2016 that he never fully recovered from. A private visitation for Mel was held on November 27 at Sykes Funeral Home in Clarksville, Tennessee followed by a funeral service at Mount Hermon Baptist Church.
The Tillis family wanted those that new Mel and were touched by his music to be able to pay their respects at a public memorial service to be open to fans and the music industry.
The service, hosted by Ralph Emery, included touching performances by Ricky Skaggs, Ray Stevens, the Gatlin Brothers, Lorrie Morgan, Jamey Johnson, Daryle Singletary, Ira Dean, Tanya Tucker, Alison Krauss and the Street Corner Symphony, Collin Raye, Kenyon Lockry, Kree Harrison, Splinter Middleton, and Tillis’ backup singers, the Stutterettes.
“You could feel the emotion in the room,” said Pam Tillis. “We felt dad’s presence. We think he was proud.”
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Deborah Allen, Dierks Bentley, Roy Clark, Duane Allen, Darrin Vincent, Lulu Roman, and others were in attendance to pay their respects.
“We’ve always been proud of him but, it’s funny, since his passing, we’ve only grown more proud of his legacy,” says Pam.
Photos by Rick Diamond Photography / Absolute Publicity