Dolly Parton has done more than her share of bidding farewell to dear friends and Country Music greats over the past few years. The superstar singer-songwriter and one-woman music business enterprise was just one in a long line of tremendous talents who honored the musicianship and the grace of Roy Clark, who passed on Thursday, November 15, at age 85, just hours after the conclusion of the 2018 CMA Awards. Dolly Parton didn’t make an appearance at this year's ceremony, but wherever she was, it’s certain that she was feeling the same nostalgia that Roy Clark would have settled right into the evening's festivities.

Master guitarists took center stage in many ways through the night, with Brad Paisley and Keith Urban both beside bluegrass master, Ricky Skaggs, for his celebration of induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Keith Urban would later take home the top trophy of the night as Entertainer of the Year.

The current country group, Midland, also serenaded the millions in the viewing audience with a montage of the “Smokey and the Bandit” films in tribute to Burt Reynolds. No one can hear those songs without picturing the days of Jerry Reed, Roy Clark, and Buck Owens hamming it up but keeping their lyrics perfect on “Hee Haw” in their heyday.

It's no wonder that Dolly Parton and so many luminous country stars humbly shared their hearts about Roy Clark.

He was appreciated as an unparalleled musician, and much loved as a man of humor and grace.

Love and praise in parting

Roy Clark's debut album in 1962 was titled “The Lightning Fingers of Roy Clark” and the fitting words were never hyperbolic for this musician.

“Roy Clark was one of the greatest ever,” Dolly Parton wrote in her e-mail statement, one of the first recorded tributes. “His spirit will never die. I loved him dearly and he will be missed.”

The touching words were even more personal for Brad Paisley, who expressed how his “Pawpaw” (grandfather) introduced Roy Clark's music to his grandson as a toddler.

Beyond being steadfast “Hee Haw” viewers as a family, Brad Paisley cut his musical teeth, and grew his chops, on a book of the Roy Clark guitar method. “I practiced his style, then practiced making his facial expressions,” remembers Paisley, adding that “so many have the same story.”

Keith Urban shared his own similar tale of watching Roy Clark from his living room floor at “my first CMA memory,” seeing Clark “tear it up.” Urban offered love and respect to Clark and his family for “all he did,” and his lessons went beyond great music.

The Oak Ridge Boys lovingly called Roy Clark a “mentor” in their salute, and bluegrass mandolin queen, Rhonda Vincent, deemed that Clark was “always so kind,” and celebrating that heaven now has another “amazing addition to the Angel Band.”

In its official tribute, the Grand Ole Opry applauded Roy Clark “for always spreading laughter, kindness, and positivity,” promising to “keep it goin’ for ya.”

Humility was a Roy Clark hallmark.

In the faithful viewer of his syndicated country comedy show always knew full well that he could play Buck Owens and virtually any other guest under the table, so to speak, but all anyone saw from Roy Clark was a beaming smile, a pretty great voice, and giving someone else room to shine.

Working on Dumplin’

Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” as a parting poem of gratitude to Porter Wagoner, after making the decision to spread her wings on her own as an artist.

In March of 2017, even while the superstar country was keeping true to her word to help families affected by the wildfires that raged through homeland with her My People Fund and “Smoky Mountains Rise” efforts, she was deeply grieving for Don Warden.

Don Warden played steel guitar in Porter Wagoner’s band, but became such a close friend of Dolly Parton that she referred to him as “Mr. Everything,” and their connection remained strong through five decades.

Dolly has also shown her true dedication to friends like Kenny Rogers, with whom she recorded “You Can't Make Old Friends.” She gave Kenny quite a retirement sendoff in the fall of 2017, fitting for their 50 years as friends and musical partners.

Now, Dolly Parton has a new pet project, starring Jennifer Aniston. Aniston stars as a former beauty queen, and now mom, to a daughter, Willowdean “Dumplin’” Dickson, portrayed by Danielle MacDonald. Besides the big hair and big heart from Parton that inspired the film, Dolly has written all the music for the Netflix musical comedy.

Whether old friends or new ones, Dolly Parton remembers special people in her life, and always stays the kind of friend that anyone would love to have.