Following the passing of Naomi Judd at the end of April, family members and friends held a memorial service and paid tribute to the famous singer at the Ryman Auditorium on Sunday. Naomi Judd: A River of Time Celebration aired live on CMT and through the network’s online streaming service yesterday.
Friends and family shared stories about Naomi Judd’s life and career as everyone in attendance at the Ryman remembered the singer. Additionally, several artists who are close to the Judd family performed at the event. Those musicians included Carly Pearce, Brandi Carlile, and Little Big Town. However, arguably the most poignant moment of the night came from Naomi Judd’s husband of 32 years, Larry Strickland.
Strickland shared a touching story with the crowd about Naomi Judd’s final hours. He revealed an email he got from a stranger during his speech. Strickland opened up about how the stranger and his wife were on the same flight from Austria to Nashville the day before her death. In her husband’s time of mourning, the unexpected message helped him in his time of need.
Naomi Judd’s Husband’s Story Shared at the Ryman Memorial Service
“‘Larry you don’t know me, we’ve never met,'” Strickland read of the stranger’s email. “‘But I was fortunate enough to meet your late wife recently who for some reason only she knew gave me your card.'”
“‘Obviously I didn’t know Naomi at all, but I can tell you she spoke highly and warmly of you and the life you shared together. Rest assured she loved you and had no qualms about telling me, a stranger on a plane, that was so. I do hope you forgive this intrusion from a complete stranger at this difficult time. It was the measure of the impact that your wife had on me that compelled me to write,'” an emotional Strickland read aloud.
“I was really scared to death about her flying all the way along home from Vienna back to Nashville,” Strickland added. “Because I knew how fragile she was. This email was such a relief and comfort to me.”
Naomi Judd Passes Away at 76 Years Old
When Naomi Judd passed away on April 30, the Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony for The Judds was less than 24 hours away. However, the following days event had a much more somber feeling after the news of Naomi Judd’s death.
Naomi Judd’s daughters, Wynonna and Ashley, released a short statement on social media on the Saturday of their mother’s passing. The sisters revealed that their mother died from “the disease of mental illness.” Later, reports released that Naomi took her own life.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness, we are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, (the public loved her as well). We’re in unknown territory,” the Judds wrote in a social media statement.