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Randy Travis Performs at Winery Founder’s Funeral in East Texas

Randy Travis performance
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Randy Travis performed for the first time since his 2013 stroke at the funeral of Pierre de Wet, founder of the Kiepersol Estates winery, on Feb. 3.

Before he died on Jan. 26, the 61-year-old native of South Africa planned his funeral, which took place at the KE Bushman Celebration Center in Bullard, Texas, to be a celebration of life, including specific food, wine and music. According to Bullard Banner News, Travis sang “Amazing Grace” in front of more than 1,000 attendees, with Keipersol Estates employees and their families singing along with him.

There is no video of Travis’ performance, but a photo in the newspaper’s story about the funeral shows Travis, dressed in a dark suit and white dress shirt with an open collar, standing behind a microphone. In addition to Travis, Alabama lead singer Randy Owen performed several songs in memory of de Wet.

Since his life-threatening stroke, Travis has made several public appearances, including at the Grand Ole Opry in September and a surprise appearance at the 2015 ACM Awards, which he followed with a heartfelt letter to his fans, posted on his website.

“Words can never express my gratitude to those who continue to believe in me, pray for me and keep me lifted up in thought and deed,” Travis wrote in that note. “… The power of music remains a source of inspiration and healing for me … and I still have a lot to share with you. It is my prayer that, with continued healing, one day soon, I will be back on that stage exchanging music with my fans … my friends, who with God’s amazing grace, have brought me this far.”

In mid-January, Chuck Lipps, one of Travis’ good friends and the vice president of RMA Presents, a West Virginia-based concert promotion group, told a newspaper that the country icon’s recovery prognosis is good.

“He can talk … say words, but no sentences,” Lipps says, noting that Travis was “alert and knew me” and adding, “I think Randy will make a total recovery.”

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