Gordy on Wednesday joined Motown legends Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, as well as hundreds of others, to celebrate both the life and legacy of Edwards, who died last week at 91. Gordy clasped hands with Robinson as they entered the church, and the Motown founder held onto Wonder as they exited.
The more than three-hour funeral service at Detroit’s Bethel AME Church featured spoken and sung tributes for Edwards, who held many executive roles with the musical empire that her brother founded in 1959. She was the guiding force behind preserving Motown’s original headquarters and record studio and turning them into a museum.
Wonder spoke before performing a stirring, soulful rendition of one of Edwards‘ favorite hymns, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” and “Sweetest Somebody I Know,” an original he said is “so much about her” and which also included some of his hit, “Isn’t She Lovely.”
Wonder said he was “giving all the praise to God for what she did in my life and the many lives she touched.”
“I think if we all had a mother or sister or aunt or cousin or sister or niece that celebrated and cheered our family as much as she did hers, we’d have a world of unity,” he said. “I am just thanking God that in my lifetime I knew her.”
Edwards‘ responsibilities at Motown included managing and guiding the artists’ careers and exposing the famed “Motown sound” to international audiences as director of international operations.
Still, her lasting contribution to the company came after Motown and most of her family left Detroit for California in the early 1970s. She amassed what would become valuable memorabilia and set to work on preserving the old headquarters _ a large stately former house on West Grand Boulevard that included the label’s famed Studio A. The museum opened in 1985.
“Now we have a pictorial and an itemized history of our legacy, right there on West Grand Boulevard,” he said.
“I’m a dude who grew up in the `hood, right here in Detroit,” Robinson said. “When I was gettin’ down wrong, she would chastise me. You chastise the ones you love. If you let `em get away with stuff, then you don’t really love `em.”
Gordy said his “big sister” was the “glue” for both the Gordy and Motown families.
“And, like glue, everything worth anything stuck to Esther,” Gordy said. “When I was leaving Detroit, I was going around throwing away stuff. Esther was right behind me, picking it up. Little did anyone know that one day that stuff I was throwing away would become a world-class museum.”View Entire Story
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Taking a deeper look at the undeniable connection between mind and body from a writer and speaker on matters of health, and a practitioner of Christian Science.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
A carefully guided tour through the confusing world of modern bookselling and publishing.
Tea Party blasts IRS
Frederick Douglass statue unveiled
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013