Friends and Fans Honor Joe Diffie’s Legacy With Hometown Parade [WATCH]
Love poured in from around the world for the late Joe Diffie following his death on Sunday (March 29) due to complications from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). But perhaps nowhere was the sentiment shown more than in the neighborhood where the Grammy-winning country star lived.
On Monday (March 30), one day after Diffie died, friends, fans and family members showed up in Nolensville, Tenn., to celebrate his life in a special way. The community held a drive-by parade that featured dozens of cars, pickup trucks, emergency vehicles, motorcycles and, of course, John Deere tractors, a salute to Diffie's 1993 smash "John Deere Green."
“Nolensville doesn’t do anything small, let me tell you!” Lisa Garramone, who helped organize the event, told News Channel 5. “When we show up, we show up!”
During the procession, a local radio station blared Diffie's hits including "Pickup Man," "Home," "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)" and "Third Rock From the Sun," as neighbors and friends, wearing green clothing, lined the streets while staying at least six feet apart from each other.
Stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have kept many families from grieving their loved ones with a proper memorial service. It’s unclear if Diffie's wife Tara or any of his other family members were at the parade, but Tara Diffie did use her husband's official Instagram account to share gratitude toward her his many fans.
"I cannot count how many people have contacted me. From coast to coast, all walks of life. Joe was so loved, and I hope he can see how he affected everyone’s lives. From the candles to the parade, to the people leaving gifts at the house -- I thank you from the bottom of my heart!" Tara writes alongside a photo showing her and Diffie locking lips on a farm next to a tractor.
"Radio stations are all playing his music, and it makes my heart happy. We have loved every tribute," she adds. "He loved his fans, his friends, his family, and he was truly happy. Please keep playing his music. Please keep his legacy alive forever. Tara."
Diffie died on March 29 at the age of 61, as confirmed by his publicist. He revealed his coronavirus diagnosis two days before his death, on Instagram, telling fans, "I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment" before asking fans to "be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic."
Other country artists who have contracted the virus include Kalie Shorr, Laura Bell Bundy, Ray Benson and John Prine, but Diffie is country music's only fatality so far. The country music industry has been hit hard by the pandemic in other ways, as most tours and festivals have been forced to postpone or cancel nearly across the board.
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