MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Lisa Marie Presley, singer-songwriter and daughter of Elvis Presley, was remembered at a funeral Sunday as a loving mother and an “old soul” who endured tragedy but persevered as a dedicated protector of her father’s legacy. as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and pop icon.
More than a thousand people gathered on the front lawn of Graceland on a cold, gray Memphis morning to mourn and remember the life of Lisa Marie Presley, who died on January 12 after being taken to a hospital in California.
Mourners held flowers as they waited for the service to begin under the tall trees on the lawn of Graceland, the Memphis home where Lisa Marie lived as a child with her father. The mansion, owned by Lisa Marie Presley, has become a museum and tourist attraction that hundreds of thousands of fans visit each year to celebrate the life and music of Elvis, who died in 1977 at age 42.
The South Memphis property was a place of sadness and bleak memories on Sunday. The service began with the singing of “Amazing Grace” by Jason Clark and The Tennessee Mass Choir.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the love, compassion and support you have shown our family during this difficult time,” read a message from the Presley family written on the service schedule. “We will always be grateful.”
Among those who spoke during the service were Lisa Marie’s mother, actress Priscilla Presley; Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York; Jerry Schilling, a close friend of Elvis and Lisa Presley’s former manager; and former Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, who called Lisa Marie’s parents the royal couple of Memphis and a “conduit to the throne, the keeper of the flame.”
In a soft voice, Priscilla Presley read a poem by one of Lisa Marie’s three daughters, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, titled “The Old Soul,” in which she calls her mother “an icon, a role model, a superhero for everyone.” many people, all over the world.”
“In 1968, she entered our world, she was born tired, fragile, but strong. She was delicate, but she was full of life,” Priscilla Presley read. “She always knew that she wouldn’t be here long. She spends childhood, with a glimpse of her green eye. She then she started a family of her own”.
After reading the poem, Priscilla Presley said: “Our hearts are broken. Lisa, we all love you.”
The music marked the service. Billy Corgan, lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, played acoustic guitar and sang “To Sheila”; Alanis Morissette sang “Rest”; Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose played piano and sang “November Rain”; and The Blackwood Brothers Quartet, one of the pioneer groups in gospel music, performed two songs.
After the service, mourners walked through the Graceland Meditation Garden, where Presley was buried in an above-ground grave alongside her son Benjamin Keough, who died in 2020, and her grandparents and great-grandmother.
Wreaths and bouquets of red, white, yellow and pink flowers lined the path to the grave and the grave itself. Fans, some teary-eyed, walked slowly past the grave, stopping to pay their respects.
Jordan Clark, 25, traveled from Mobile, Alabama, to attend the service. He called the ceremony special and moving. Clark said Lisa Marie “been through a lot” in her life and compared the service to the time Elvis died, when “people came from all over the place.”
“She was born into the public, she was born into fame. That’s hard for some people,” Clark said. “She handled it like a champ. I think.”
Lisa Marie was 9 years old when her father died. She was staying at Graceland at the time and she would remember him kissing her goodnight for the last time.
After her father’s death, she became the sole heir to the Elvis Presley Trust, which, along with Elvis Presley Enterprises, managed Graceland and other assets until she sold her majority interest in 2005. She retained ownership of the mansion, all 13 acres around and items inside the house.
A representative for Elvis Presley Enterprises told The Associated Press that the mansion is in a trust that will benefit his children. Along with Harper, he is survived by two other daughters: Riley Keough and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood.
Riley Keough, an actor, did not speak at the service. Her husband, Ben Smith-Petersen, read a statement in which Keough recalls her mother taking her out for ice cream, bringing her Cracker Barrel tea sets and leaving notes in her lunch box.
“Thank you for giving me strength, my heart, my empathy, my courage, my sense of humor, my manners, my temper, my savagery, my tenacity,” Riley Keough said in the statement. “I am a product of your heart.”