NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville is saying goodbye to a voice who sang with legends. The funeral will happen Saturday for Deborah McCrary. She was part of the McCrary Sisters, who performed on stage and in the studio with some of the biggest names in music.
Growing up in a little house in Nashville, how could you not sing when your father is gospel royalty Rev. Sam McCrary?
"The Fairfield Four," said Ann McCrary. "My father was one of the founding members who kept the group going. Music — that's all we've known if we didn't know anything else."
Regina, Ann, Alfreda, and their sister Deborah are the McCrary Sisters. Over the years, the sisters have individually sung with Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley. They were good friends with Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.
"God has just given us the talent to do it," said Ann.
Deborah long had another purpose.
"She wanted to be a nurse," said Alfreda. "She went to nursing school, and she became a nurse. She was at General Hospital. She was there for years."
"Yeah, she helped give birth to Tony, my son," added Regina.
Then came a show in 2010 that would get the four sisters together on stage at the Station Inn.
"And she was saying, 'No!'" laughed Ann, remembering Deborah. "She finally broke out in a sweat. When we got finished singing, she said, 'don't you ever! Don't you ever call me to come and do that again!"
That's not how it went.
The McCrary Sisters began singing, traveling and recording together. Who were they with?
"Whenever someone asks that question, my mind goes blank," smiled Ann.
"Margo Price, Chris Stapleton, Gregg Allman, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson," said Regina, listing a few of the names.
Deborah had her first stroke in 2013 and suffered more strokes in the years to come.
"With this last stroke, we all thought, since she's pulled through so many times, she's going to pull through again," said Ann. "We just really thought that."
Deborah McCrary died last week. What she leaves behind is a story that starts in a little house that loved music and continued through a career of compassion and performing with fellow greats.
"She was just a jewel," said Alfreda. "She was a jewel. She was a warrior, and we loved her."
Visitation for Deborah McCrary will be held at 11a.m. Satuday, June 11 at St. Mark's Baptist Church. 3903 Milford Rd., Nashville.
The funeral will start at noon.