Last Friday a man, Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry, I consider a friend in the music business died too soon in a helicopter crash in New Jersey. Turns out it was an impromptu trip. A short time after take off the pilot radioed in saying they were having a control problem. The pilot attempted an auto rotational descent to runway one. The helicopter missed the runway and crashed into some shrubbery. The pilot James Evan Robinson died at the scene of the crash and Troy died a short time later at the hospital. A public celebration of life will be held at the Grand Ole Opry House Thursday morning at 11. The family is asking in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the T.J. Martell Foundation or the American Red Cross for hurricane relief in Troy’s name. The Opry will provide a livestream of Thursday’s service. I met Troy and partner Eddie Montgomery years ago the night before I was going on vacation to Denver. They were playing a club here in Amarillo that was called Graham’s. It’s now Atomic Sports bar on Britian. After the show that night we hung out on the bus till six in the morning listening to music and drinking whiskey. For years I would run into the guys when I went to Nashville for Country Radio Seminar. One of the nights I saw the guys at a table full of people and I didn’t want to be a bother so I just gave them a wave. The next day when we ran into each other they asked me why I didn’t stop by their table. I told them I wanted to give them their privacy. They told me any time you see us you come say hi because we think of you as a friend. I won’t be in Nashville Thursday but you can bet I’ll be stopping by the stream to say goodbye to a friend that left us too soon. Troy Gentry was 50 years old and leaves behind his wife Angie and two daughters Kaylee and Taylor.