Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson paid moving tributes to music mogul Berry Gordy's sister Esther Gordy Edwards at her funeral on Wednesday (31Aug11).
Gordy Edwards, who founded the Motown Museum to preserve the legacy of the record label her brother created, died last week (24Aug11), and several music legends turned out for her memorial in Detroit, Michigan.
Her brother Berry embraced Robinson as they headed into the Bethel Ame Church for the three-hour service, which was packed with tributes.
Wonder remembered his friend in a touching speech before performing a rendition of one of Edwards' favourite hymns, His Eye is on the Sparrow, and Sweetest Somebody I Know, interspersed with his hit track Isn't She Lovely.
He told the mourners, "(I am) 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. I am just thanking God that in my lifetime I knew her."
Robinson applauded Gordy Edwards, a former Motown executive, for keeping "every little scrap of paper, every tape" from the soul label's early days, adding, "Fortunately, there was Esther, who had our backs. Now we have a pictorial and an itemised history of our legacy."
Gordy also paid tribute to his beloved big sister during the memorial. He said, "Like glue, everything worth anything stuck to Esther. 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."
Also among the mourners were original Four Tops member Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, songwriters Eddie and Brian Holland, and Robinson's ex-wife, Miracles star Claudette Rogers Robinson.