By Sheena Barnett / NEMS Daily Journal
AMORY – Hundreds of John Dye’s family members, friends and co-workers gathered in his hometown to say goodbye to the actor and Amory native.
Dye, best known for his role as Andrew on the hit CBS series “Touched by an Angel,” died Jan. 10 at his home in San Francisco due to a heart-related illness. He was 47.
St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church was filled almost to capacity on Saturday afternoon for the funeral. Dye’s brothers, friends and co-workers remembered him as a funny, giving and compassionate man.
Martha Williamson, head writer and executive producer of “Touched by an Angel,” recalled Dye’s “big ole Mississippi smile” and memories from the set.
“(Co-star) Della Reese called him ‘Angel Boy.’ Most of us on the set called him J.D. I just called him my friend,” she said.
In playing Andrew, the angel of death, “not only did he touch millions of lives, but he made a real and lasting difference, one heart at a time,” Williamson said.
She remembered Dye passing out his mother’s lemon cookies on the set, and praying with him at the close of the show, as he thanked God for the “privilege of portraying an angel, even for a little while, on earth.”
Cecelia Wingate, a longtime friend of Dye’s, remembered the good times she spent with him.
“We always made each other laugh, and laugh really hard,” she said.
Dye made a point to give to others, she said.
“He loved making people happy. He was a good citizen of planet Earth,” she said. “He was a class act.”
Karren Baker, one of Dye’s oldest and closest friends, talked about how the pair tried to find fresh okra in San Francisco and had hours-long movie marathons.
Dye’s brothers, Jamey and Jerre, both shared personal stories of special times they spent with their brother.
Jerre said that since his brother’s death, he had received hundreds of messages and e-mails via the Internet from Dye’s friends and fans all over the world.
“Have you ever looked at a microchip in a computer?” he asked. “There’s a whole host of angels in there.”
Galen Fott, a singer from Nashville and a friend of Dye’s, sang “Corner of the Sky” from “Pippen,” a song Dye used as an audition song early in his career.
“I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free,” Fott sang, “got to find my corner of the sky.”
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.