The country music community was shaken one week ago (September 8) when Troy Gentry was tragically killed in a helicopter crash just hours before he was to take the stage at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford, New Jersey.
In the days since, fans and fellow artists have paid their respects by sharing photos and stories of memories they made with Gentry. In addition to being remembered as a family man with a huge smile, he’s also being remembered for his big heart.
Gentry, one half of the award-winning duo Montgomery Gentry, was laid to rest on Thursday, September 14, following a memorial service that was held at the Grand Ole Opry House, the same place where he and his partner Eddie Montgomery joined the Opry family just 8 years before. During that service, several of Gentry’s friends and fellow musicians paid their respects through stories and song, including Vince Gill, Trace Adkins, Little Big Town, and Charlie Daniels.
But, it was country duo David Tolliver and Chad Warrix, known as Halfway to Hazard, that found themselves in a bittersweet moment as they stood in the Opry circle for the first time and performed “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Tolliver first met Troy Gentry more than 10 years ago.
“I actually met Troy standing in line waiting for Santa Claus pictures with our kids around 2006,” Tolliver recalls. Troy recognized the singer as being a member of Halfway to Hazard and introduced himself. “After that we would just see each other out at shows or just around town from time to time and started hanging out.”
“He made it happen. Not like Chad or I wanted but he kept his word,”
Tolliver said of performing at Gentry’s funeral. “I can’t describe the emotions that went through me [during the funeral] but I had a peace inside, it was like Troy was giving us one last gift. I’ll miss him and his smile.”
Playing Troy’s service at the Opry House was one of the most emotional experiences we’ve ever been involved with,” Warrix adds. “The low of losing a close friend and musical peer along with the high of playing the the venue that sits at the very top of everyone’s list was very intense.”
“I am thankful for the gift of his friendship and mentorship and the gift of being on stage with him one last time. His hard work through all the years that got him into the Opry family is a true testament that has inspired me to work harder and be a ‘Better Me.’”
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