MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis musician John Kilzer was remembered Monday during his celebration of life service.
Kilzer, 62, was memorialized at Saint John’s United Methodist Church on Peabody Avenue at 11 a.m.
Grammy-winner Kirk Whalum was overcome with emotion as he paid tribute to his long time friend.
Kilzer died at the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic in Minnesota last week.
The former University of Memphis basketball player, turned rock-star, then minister was the Associate Pastor of Recovery Ministries at St. John's Methodist Church. There he helped those recovering from substance abuse and addiction, a struggle Kilzer himself worked to overcome.
"John felt shame in his relapse, and he believed that we would not understand. He was wrong," said Reverend Scott Morris.
Monday's memorial service was not one for mourning.
Kilzer was lauded for his giving spirit and kind heart. He often told those who attended his Friday night recovery services, "we're gonna love ya and there ain't nothing you can do about it."
“John Kilzer not only touched, but he transformed many lives during his time on this Earth. His extraordinary music commanded our attention, while his message of hope, love and recovery sustained struggling individuals and families,” said Brad Martin, Memphis businessman and friend.
A love shared by the people who gathered Monday to say farewell.