Leslie Jordan’s life celebrated in final farewell to Emmy winner in his hometown of Chattanooga, TN

‘He brought such light and love’: Leslie Jordan’s life is celebrated in his hometown of Chattanooga… after he died at age 67 last month

Leslie Jordan was remembered for his kindness, his talent and his light in his hometown on Sunday. 

The Emmy winning actor was laid to rest in a private family service in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but some two thousand fans attended the public ‘Love. Light. Leslie’ memorial in his honor at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium.

Jordan died from a heart attack when in a car crash October 24 in Los Angeles at the age of 67. 

Final farewell: Leslie Jordan was remembered for his kindness, his talent and his light in his hometown of Chattanooga, TN Sunday.  The Emmy winner died in a car crash October 24 in Los Angeles at the age of 67

Final farewell: Leslie Jordan was remembered for his kindness, his talent and his light in his hometown of Chattanooga, TN Sunday.  The Emmy winner died in a car crash October 24 in Los Angeles at the age of 67

Proceeds from the event benefitted Cempa Community Care, a local organization that provides healthcare and services to those living with HIV.

The beloved star was born April 29, 1955. 

The Call Me Kat actor’s sister, Jana Lynn ‘Cricket’ Jordan choked up as she explained how her brother’s talent had been apparent from a young age.

‘We knew, we knew how special Leslie was gonna be from the time he was tiny. Mama used to say, “He would go by the nativity set, and he’d see Joseph and Mary, and he’d say, “Hey Joe.” It was just Leslie. He brought such light and love to everyone,’ she said.

Jana Lynn clapped with joy when it was revealed the city would have a permanent reminder of her favorite son with a newly named Leslie Allen Jordan way.   

Love and Light: The Call Me Kat actor was laid to rest in a private family service, but some two thousand fans attended the public 'Love. Light. Leslie.' memorial in his honor

Love and Light: The Call Me Kat actor was laid to rest in a private family service, but some two thousand fans attended the public ‘Love. Light. Leslie.’ memorial in his honor

Recorded message: Eddie Vedder was one of many friends who could not attend but sent a recorded video message. Others included Beau Bridges and Delta Burke

Recorded message: Eddie Vedder was one of many friends who could not attend but sent a recorded video message. Others included Beau Bridges and Delta Burke

Joyful: Vedder, who sang with Jordan on his Company's Comin' album, recalled his friend as 'joyful, inclusive, inspiring, and his limitless energy was truly contagious. We are all so blessed to have had him on this planet. If only we had had him longer'

Joyful: Vedder, who sang with Jordan on his Company’s Comin’ album, recalled his friend as ‘joyful, inclusive, inspiring, and his limitless energy was truly contagious. We are all so blessed to have had him on this planet. If only we had had him longer’

Many of the late actor’s famous friends were unable to attend the gathering, but some did send video messages, including Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, who called him ‘one of the brightest lights I ever witnessed,’ continuing, ‘He was joyful, inclusive, inspiring, and his limitless energy was truly contagious. 

‘We are all so blessed to have had him on this planet. If only we had had him longer.’

Beau Bridges and Delta Burke also joined the tributes with Bridges describing the versatile star saying, ‘With a great big smile and a wonderful open heart, Leslie brought joy to me and to all of us. And I’m so happy that I got to know you. You will always be my friend.’ 

Burke followed with her own anecdote, ‘I remember telling people, “That man deserves an Oscar,”‘ then adding, ‘You were brilliant — You made millions of people happy. And you had a big heart, and you are so missed.’

Jordan’s Southern Baptist Sissies co-star Emerson Collins recalled the seasoned actor advised him to live ‘not a perfect life, but a life that is loud and proud and full of joy and forgiveness and laughter.’ 

Sisterly love: Jana Lynn 'Cricket' Jordan choked up as she explained how her brother's talent had been apparent from a young age. 'We knew, we knew how special Leslie was gonna be from the time he was tiny'

Sisterly love: Jana Lynn ‘Cricket’ Jordan choked up as she explained how her brother’s talent had been apparent from a young age. ‘We knew, we knew how special Leslie was gonna be from the time he was tiny’

Honored: The city of Chattanooga honored the late actor with a commemorative Leslie Allen Jordan Way

Honored: The city of Chattanooga honored the late actor with a commemorative Leslie Allen Jordan Way

Friends and fans: Some two thousand people turned out for the memorial which benefitted Cempa Community Care, a local organization that provides healthcare and services to those living with HIV

Friends and fans: Some two thousand people turned out for the memorial which benefitted Cempa Community Care, a local organization that provides healthcare and services to those living with HIV

The memorial was announced on Instagram showing a photo of the diminutive actor with the big heart as a child next to one of his final pictures.

Justin Long wrote a heartfelt farewell, ‘If there is a way to access Instagram in the hereafter, I feel like Leslie is checking these messages and being “tickled” by them.

‘I remember once referring to people following him on here as “followers” and he corrected me, “I prefer to call them ‘friends’” he said.’ 

‘When I got to hang out w him in Chattanooga,’ he continued, ‘I witnessed him treating the fans who’d approach him with such kindness and humor – the way you would a friend. His mirth and joy of life will always remain with me – as will his one-of-a-kind voice when I say the words “well” and “s**t” in order ❤️.’

Social media: The memorial was announced on social media using this sweet compilation photo. Justin Long posted a heartfelt message. Michelle Pfeiffer, Amy Sedaris, Katie Couric and many others expressed their love and admiration with various heart emojis

Social media: The memorial was announced on social media using this sweet compilation photo. Justin Long posted a heartfelt message. Michelle Pfeiffer, Amy Sedaris, Katie Couric and many others expressed their love and admiration with various heart emojis

Linda Thompson responded with, ‘Beautiful sweet Leslie! How you are missed! You still had that same little cherubic look as when you were a little boy! ❤️.’ 

Michelle Pfeiffer, Amy Sedaris, Katie Couric and many others expressed their love and admiration with various heart emojis. 

Leslie Jordan became a pandemic social media star.  The Until We Meet Again actor delighted his six million fans with posts that included joyful dance moves and heartfelt gospel songs. 

Pandemic star: Leslie Jordan became a pandemic social media star. The Until We Meet Again actor delighted his six million fans with posts that included joyful dance moves and heartfelt gospel songs

Pandemic star: Leslie Jordan became a pandemic social media star. The Until We Meet Again actor delighted his six million fans with posts that included joyful dance moves and heartfelt gospel songs

Hunker Downers: Jordan's  bandmates from the Hunker Downers performed several gospel songs at the memorial

Hunker Downers: Jordan’s  bandmates from the Hunker Downers performed several gospel songs at the memorial

His musical stylings were so popular that he recorded an album, Company’s Comin’, in 2021.  Musical superstars such as Dolly Parton, Eddie Vedder, Brandi Carlile, Morgane & Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker & TJ Osborne joined him on the release. His bandmates from the Hunker Downers performed several gospel songs at the memorial. 

The Help actor was openly gay, and said he quit going to church at age 13, often joking, ‘I was baptized 14 times. Every time the preacher would say, “Come forward, sinners!” I’d say, “Oooh, I was out in the woods with that boy. I better go forward.”‘ In an August 2021 interview with Shania Twain on her Home Now Radio show, he maintained, ‘I firmly believe that God made me this way. I’m not a mistake. This is not my cross to bear. It’s part of what I am and I want to celebrate that.’

The beloved star was able to get in the ‘Last Word‘ at his memorial service as the organizers played the last track from Company’s Comin’ with the star singing ‘Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it all by and by.’ 

Not a mistake: Jordan was openly gay and maintained, 'I firmly believe that God made me this way. I'm not a mistake. This is not my cross to bear. It's part of what I am and I want to celebrate that'

Not a mistake: Jordan was openly gay and maintained, ‘I firmly believe that God made me this way. I’m not a mistake. This is not my cross to bear. It’s part of what I am and I want to celebrate that’

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