There were heavy hearts and passionate tributes Thursday afternoon at the funeral of a man killed in the city he championed; Greater Memphis Chamber President and CEO Phil Trenary.
The 64-year-old was shot in downtown Memphis last Thursday night and died shortly after in the hospital. Three suspects, including a juvenile, are charged in Trenary’s murder.
Services were held at Christ United Methodist Church. Reporters kept their distance from the church out of respect for Trenary’s family, but earlier, his longtime friends and colleagues shared what Memphis lost, and how his legacy lives on.
“We’ve lost, what I call Phil, is the heartbeat of our community,” said Chism Hardy Investments President & CEO Carolyn Hardy.
Hundreds paid their respects to Trenary. And those who worked closely with him honored him as a leader…
“The thing that this community will lose in Phil is that Phil led by example,” said Hardy.
… as a friend…
“His personality was infectious and that’s going to be missed,” said Memphis Tourism President & CEO Kevin Kane.
… and as an advocate for all Memphians.
“Phil was an example of inclusiveness that I’ve never seen in my career,” said Hardy.
“He cared about people, he was a champion for minority businesses and diversity in the workplace and, you know, none of that is going change,” said Kane.
They call him a visionary for Memphis’ economy, culture, and future potential.
“His legacy and the foundation his team at the Chamber have set continues on,” said Kane. “Today is about celebrating a life well lived, someone who loved our city.”
“Phil would say that Memphis is still great, and Memphis is still on the trajectory that he was leading it. He would not want any of that momentum lost, none whatsoever, that’s how he’d like to be remembered,” said Hardy. “Phil would want his work to continue, he would not want us to look back and feel sorry for him.”
“Memphis is a city that’s got a lot of things going in the right direction and we cannot be deterred by that,” said Kane.
“Who is going to bring that hope back?” said Hardy. “And you know who that hope is going to be? It’s going to be the team that he left.”
According to the program, Trenary’s funeral included remarks from his children, AutoZone founder Pitt Hyde, and Church Health founder Doctor Scott Morris.