Friends Say Farewell to Porter

Porter Wagoner, who died Oct. 28 at age 80, was honored at a star-packed memorial service at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Nov. 1.

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Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and more stars paid musical tribute to Porter, a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 50 years. Vince, who performed his standard “Go Rest High on That Mountain” with Ricky and Patty Loveless, told the assembled crowd that Porter was an early influence on his music. “The first person that I ever saw in my life sing country music was Porter Wagoner,” said Vince, recalling Porter’s TV series, The Porter Wagoner Show. Dolly, Porter’s former duet partner, led a cast of Opry members in “I Saw the Light” at the end of the service. “I wanted to sing something else, but I was afraid I couldn’t get through it,” said Dolly, evidently referring to the song she wrote about her friend and mentor, “I Will Always Love You.” Among the many stars in attendance were Garth Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood. Following the service, Porter was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville.

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