Naomi Judd’s husband, Larry Strickland, remembered his late wife during her public memorial service at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. CMT worked with the Judd family and Sandbox Live to hold the televised event.
Strickland, who married Naomi in 1989, said his wife “never met a stranger.” She had a knack for speaking with others, which was evident by an email Strickland received from someone Naomi recently spoke to on a flight. He emotionally read the email during the service, saying, in part: “Obviously, I didn’t know Naomi at all, but I can tell you that 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.”
Naomi’s daughters, actress Ashley Judd and The Judds duo partner Wynonna Judd, also spoke during the heartfelt service for their mother. Wynonna was also among a star-studded list of artists who delivered powerful performances as a tribute to the late country music icon.
“I will continue to sing,” Wynonna announced during the service, per CMT. “I made a decision, and I decided to share it on national television. After a lot of thought, I am gonna have to honor her and do this tour because that is what you would want. …So tonight, as we close I say, ‘the show must go on.’ As hard as it may be, we will show up together. You will carry me, as you carried me for 38 years once again because I honestly didn’t think I should do it. I didn’t know If I could go on without her.”
Naomi unexpectedly died on April 30, one day before The Judds were set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ashley confirmed in an emotional interview that her mother “used a firearm” that day. Ashley remembered her mother’s battle with mental illness, and remembered her mother as “an unfailingly kind, sensitive woman.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or is in emotional distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.