January 24, 2010

A Final Farewell for Teddy Pendergrass

Thousands of mourners, celebrities and fans from around the world attended the funeral service for legendary singer Teddy Pendergrass Saturday morning in the West Oak Lane section of the city.

The jubilant homegoing service, filled with singing and inspirational music, lifted the more than 4,000 mourners who filled the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Philly’s own Musiq Soulchild, R&B singer and actor Tyrese, Melba Moore, Bunny Sigler, Gerald Austin and Lyfe Jennings all performed songs by Pendergrass.

“He’s my friend. We ran together, we sang together and he is going to be missed. He’s in all of our hearts,” veteran actor and singer Ben Vereen said.

“What you decide to do for others is what you should mainly be remembered for. You can’t take any of the valuables with you when you go,” Tyrese Gibson said.

In 1971, Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble discovered Pendergrass’ powerful, subduing baritone voice, which helped define the sound of Philadelphia and catapulted the singer to sex symbol status.

“We pay tribute to a great artist and a great person Teddy Pendergrass,” Kenny Gamble said. “He was the person who shared his knowledge and information with people. He lived a great life.”

59-year-old Pendergrass died last week after battling colon cancer. He is best known as the singer of ``If You Don't Know Me By Now'' and other hits.

Pendergrass was left paralyzed from the waist down following a 1982 car crash, but continued to record music.

The funeral was followed by a private burial at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.
Source: NBC Philadelphia

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