During the emotional memorial, Wagon Master steel guitar player Don Warden was surprised by Parton with a tribute of his own. Dressed in the original costume he wore on the famed show, Warden was gifted with a sculpture from Parton who described him as her “Angel on Earth” and told of his induction into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. When Dolly left the Porter Wagoner Show, Warden went with her as manager and has remained with her as an adviser through the years. This very special tribute marked the first time the two had performed together in 34 years.
Eyes glistening with tears, Parton closed the memorial with the original version of her 1974 musical farewell to their partnership, “I Will Always Love You”. “Not a dry eye in the house,” says Sevierville media artist Jacob Timmons, who designed and manages Parton’s web empire. “The whole first row of the theater was Porter’s family, the second row was legends from the Grand Ole Opry. It was a powerful and moving expression of love”. Porter Wagoner died on October 28, 2007, in Nashville Tennessee. His career spanned seven decades.
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