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Funeral for a Friend

Posted: Jul 03, 2007

It was slightly overcast in Spartanburg, SC this morning and a bit cooler than it has been. Well, at least until about halfway through the graveside service, when hundreds of cardboard church fans came out and my sweat soaked black blazer was peeled off and tossed over my shoulder.

My friend Doug Gray called last night and invited me to ride over to the funeral together. Attending with Doug was akin to hanging out with the President or something. Virtually everyone was coming up to Doug, shaking hands, telling stories an cruising down memory lane.

They were burying our brother George McCorkle today and hundreds of friends, fans and family members gathered around the tent to pay our final respects.

The tour bus brings George to his final resting place. (Spartanburg Herald Photo)


The tour bus came up, and the pallbearers brought George’s casket down the hill to it’s final resting place. The family made their way to the seating in front of the casket, George’s wife Vivienne sitting front and center, along with George’s son Justin and his wife, and George’s step son and other family members. Bruce Wall, a family friend, kept a close watch on Vivienne.

Surviving original Marshall Tucker Band members Paul Riddle and Jerry Eubanks joined Doug, along with former band members Franklin Wilkie, Rusty Milner, Tim Lawter, Tony Heatherly and David Allen. Toy Caldwell band drummer Mark Burrell and Toy’s youngest daughter Geneal were in attendance, as well as all of the original Tucker road crew, Moon Mullins, Puff, Blackie and Stump.

George’s first wife Elaine and her husband were there, as well as musicians Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd), David Ezell, and Mark McAfee. So many friends were there, all brought together by the friendship of the gentle soul that was George McCorkle.

The preacher from the church George attended in Tennessee opened the service, telling a great story about being a Southern rock fan, and his first meeting with George.

One of George’s long time friends and co-writers, Jay Boy Adams played a beautiful new song he had written about friendship, and Mia Miller sang a breathtaking acapella version of George’s song “Peace Stories.”

US Navy representatives folded and presented the flag to Vivienne, and delivered a 21 gun salute, and a lone Navy bugler played "Taps."

A few friends spoke about George, including his step son, and after the closing prayer, Jay Boy led everyone in a sing along on “Fire On the Mountain.”

It was a very special service to remember a true one of a kind human being and a real honest to God Southern rock pioneer.

Godspeed George. We’ll miss you brother.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.
Buffalo, July 3, 2007


WYFF-TV, Greenville, SC

Spartanburg Herald Coverage of Funeral

Spartanburg Herald Photos of Funeral

My Memories of George

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