George and Nancy Jones and more than 1,000 people bid farewell to Gospel music singer Vestal Goodman, recalling her joyful, loving and optimistic spirit in a music-filled service.
Goodman, known as “the Queen of Gospel Music,” died Saturday in Celebration, Fla., of complications from the flu. She was 74.
As the service Thursday at Christ Church began, Goodman’s casket, covered in pink roses, was wheeled into the large sanctuary as a tape of her steel guitar-saturated duet with George Jones, “Mansion Over the Hilltop,” played on the public address system.
Jones, a close friend, was in attendance, as were Vince Gill and numerous Christian music figures including Dottie Rambo and Michael W. Smith.
President Bush sent a message of “heartfelt sympathy,” and a letter from Gov. Phil Bredesen cited Goodman’s “remarkable life of musical ministry.”