Now it’s Bakersfield’s turn to say goodbye to Merle Haggard.

Valley Baptist Church will host a public service for the legendary, Bakersfield-born singer-songwriter starting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. The church is at 4800 Fruitvale Ave., at the corner of Olive Drive.

The service will feature local singers performing a number of Haggard’s spiritual songs, like “What Will It Be Like” and his sister’s favorite, “Cabin in the Hills.”

“He’s telling God he doesn’t deserve a mansion in heaven; just build me a cabin,” Lillian Haggard Rea told The Californian last week.

Haggard died at his home in Shasta County on April 6, his 79th birthday, from pneumonia and complications of a blood disorder.

The memorial service will be preceded by a 45-minute pre-service, featuring photos and music, at 9:45 a.m. Valley Baptist ministers Phil Neighbors and Roger Spradlin will officiate at the main service.

Rea, a primary organizer of the memorial service, will next look into getting a gravestone or plaque to honor her brother at the Haggard family section of Greenlawn Cemetery. 


Merle Haggard memorial

Where: Valley Baptist Church, 4800 Fruitvale Ave.


9:45 a.m.: Photo montage

10:30 a.m. Service begins

10:32 a.m.: Welcome and opening prayer by Phil Neighbors, senior co-pastor of Valley Baptist

10:34: Eulogies begin and include presentations by the singer’s sister, Lillian Haggard Rea, and performances of Haggard’s spiritual music

11:10: Message from Roger Spradlin, senior co-pastor of Valley Baptist

Watch the memorial service will live-stream the memorial service Tuesday, starting at 9:45 a.m.