updated 03/07/2013 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 03/07/2013 AT 11:35 AM ET
Two photographs of Mindy McCready at the height of her career and beauty flanked a large arrangement of flowers near the altar of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville Wednesday afternoon, where more than 200 people gathered to remember the country singer who took her own life on Feb. 17 in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
In the front pew of the Catholic church, her mother Gayle Inge, brothers Josh and T.J. McCready and other family members listened to moving memories of her as a little girl and as a talented artist.
The service began with a haunting recording of McCready’s “I’ll See You Yesterday,” the last song she recorded before her death at 37.
Her cousin Tristan White told of the joy in Mindy’s voice when she called to tell her she had finally accepted boyfriend David Wilson’s proposal, not long before Wilson committed suicide on the same Arkansas porch where McCready shot herself. Wilson was the father of McCready’s 11-month-old son Zayne. McCready was also survived by her first child, 6-year-old Zander.
Ashley Webb, another cousin who grew up with McCready in Florida, read a letter from her father Tim McCready, in which he wrote, “She was my beautiful daughter and she had the voice of an angel. I pray with all my heart she has found peace.”
Singers Bryan White, Bekka Bramlett and Lorrie Morgan offered musical tributes. Former label-mate Morgan also recalled how much fun the two had together, that she was “funny, sexy and talented. She has soul in her eyes, but also sadness, a soul crying for help. Mindy’s star burned bright on this earth, but couldn’t burn forever.”
The hour-long service ended with two unreleased songs she recorded in the last months of her life – Garth Brooks’s “The Dance” and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now.” Her voice, said her former bandleader and producer Jimmy Nichols, “was undiminished. I think Mindy’s legacy should be that we should all strive to love each other, in spite of our flaws.”