Randy Travis’ Wife Mary Delivers Touching Speech at Hall of Fame Announcement
As part of the Class of 2016, Randy Travis will join the Country Music Hall of Fame during a ceremony set to be held later this year. But on Tuesday (March 29), the singer and his wife took the stage during a press conference held to announce the three new inductees and created a truly memorable moment.
After being introduced by Brenda Lee -- who choked back tears as she recalled Travis' 2013 stroke and continuing road to recovery -- Travis and wife Mary Davis came to the podium. The country icon nodded to his friends and uttered a quiet “thank you” as a standing ovation continued for quite a while, and while it was good to see him out and about, his wife's remarks were what really hit home.
Travis and Davis have been married about a year, but they have been together since before his stroke. Davis has often been the one to report on Travis’ progress in interviews; in November of 2014, she was the one to reveal that the country legend was starting to write again and hadn’t lost his ability to play guitar.
"I've been asked to take on this daunting task of being the voice for this man who so eloquently put words to melody to make beautiful music for the world to enjoy. He lived and he loved the songs that he wrote and the songs that he sang," Davis began. "He's a man of great courage, which you all know. He's kind, he's gentle, and he has God-given talents ..."
Throughout her few minutes onstage, Davis recounted her husband's childhood, his early years in the music business ... and, most candidly, the trying moments when it didn't seem as though he'd live much longer.
"Randy's often said, no doubt, there have been storms in life, and he said that God Almighty has carried him through each and every one, and today makes him the man that he is," Davis noted. "He's honored beyond words to join those before him ... and the ones that, no doubt, will follow.
"He thanks God for the privilege of being able to do what he loves to do," she continued. "It doesn't seem right that he gets to sing the songs that he loves to the fans that he loves with the people that he loves, and to be honored in such a way ..."
Davis also made sure to thank Travis' management, crew, co-writers and, especially, "the people that have been our friends and that have stood beside us through the last three years."
"After spending the months in the hospital when they really said there was no hope, go ahead and pull the plug, I went to his bedside, and I said, 'Baby, you've gotta give me some more fight,'" Davis recalled. "And I knew that he had had a little talk with Jesus, because he squeezed my hand, and a little tear fell down, and I knew that he wasn't through yet.
"He's a wonderful man, a wonderful husband, and I'm blessed beyond measure to get to walk beside him," she added.
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.”
10 Artists Who Should Be in the Country Music Hall of Fame
5 Lessons We've Learned From Randy Travis