Fans of George Jones traveled from Texas, Kentucky and Delaware to attend his public funeral, though many weren’t able to get inside the Grand Ole Opry House.
Folks took planes, hitched rides and drove all night. Charlie Hoy and his wife brought his motor home from Smithville, Texas. He says he always promised he would go to the service.
“If I’m still living, if George leaves us, I’m going to be there no matter how far I have to drive, and I’m here,” Hoy said. “He’s my hero. Ever since 1955 when I was 10 years old, my daddy would sit in the back yard, listen to George, drink a couple of cool ones.”
Unfortunately, Hoy and a few hundred others were turned away after the Opry House filled to its capacity of 4,400, although there were open seats on the first level where family and VIPs were seated.
Mark Bowman of Sparta, Tenn., was one of those left out. He says while in foster care as a boy, George Jones sent him signed CDs in the mail.
“He also gave me a two dollar bill and a letter that said if I hung onto that two dollar bill I would always have two dollars to my name,” Bowman said. “He was my childhood idol.”