Nothing was going to stop Merle Haggard from performing at Tammy Wynette’s memorial

It’s never easy for families when someone passes away. It’s especially not easy for families of superstars, who have have to consider the millions of fans who want to be part of that goodbye while they are making funeral arrangements.

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When Tammy Wynette passed, the family opted for a private funeral and burial, but they knew her fans would want to say goodbye in some way. So, a public memorial service was held at the Ryman Auditorium on April 9, 1998, after Tammy’s private funeral service and burial.

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An at-capacity crowd filled the Mother Church of Country Music as giant floral arrangements and Tammy’s portrait filled the stage. Many of her closest friends spoke or performed, including Randy Travis, Wynonna, the Oak Ridge Boys and Rudy Gatlin.

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Merle Haggard unfortunately could not attend, but he wouldn’t let that stand in the way of giving a proper send off to his friend. In lieu of being there, he recorded a performance and had it delivered in time to be played for the audience.

Loretta Lynn had been scheduled to speak at the service but was too distraught to attend, and Dolly Parton was so upset at the actual funeral that she could not finish her song.

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