NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A celebration of life was held Tuesday for Max Barry, the son of Nashville’s mayor who passed away over the weekend.
It was a memorable service at the Belcourt Theatre, a place where Max has his name on a seat down the street from where Mayor Megan Barry and her husband Bruce raised their only son.
It’s also a place the where the Barrys spent much of their time as a family, building his character—a character many described as humorous yet loving.
“Max was our beloved boy. He made us laugh and he made us crazy. We will never hear him say ‘momma’ or ‘pops’ again. We will never dance at his wedding or celebrate another milestone with him. But we will remember him for the sweet, sweet soul he was. The soul that was restless and calm and free and beautiful and kind. Max was the kindest person we ever knew,” the family wrote on the memorial program given to attendees.
As music filled the Belcourt Theatre in honor of Max, the lyrics struck a chord deeper than usual from each performer.
“Max won’t remain just a memory at our house. He was part of what my wife likes to call our extended family,” said famed musician John Prine.
“He himself had the heart the size of a mountain,” said Prine’s son Tommy, who grew up with Max. “A free spirit much like the animals that roam this world, the stubbornness of a long winter, and a smile like sunshine breaking through a stormy cloud.”
And although tears were plentiful, Max’s father addressed the crowd that has been providing warmth and comfort for the grieving family.
“We thought it was important, Megan and I, that people understand about the mistake he made,” Bruce Barry said. “We all, of all ages, have made incredible mistakes in our lives and we almost always walk away from them. He made one that you don’t walk away from.”
“This crushing weight of sadness and loss has an incredible emotional counterweight called community,” he later added.
“Nashville was there. Nashville was on the stage. Nashville was all around this family and this loss and in that, there’s incredible hope, too,” said former mayor Bill Purcell.
Current Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, former governor Phil Bredesen, former Nashville mayor Karl Dean, and District Attorney General Glenn Funk were also among the nearly 500 people that came out to support the Barry family.