Action News spoke with Reverend Jesse Jackson, a close Houston family friend, Monday afternoon before a scheduled speaking engagement at Lehigh University.
"She comes out of an environment with Cissy Houston, her mother, and Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, her cousin, and out of that environment she came with her own unique talents and took singing to another level," Reverend Jackson said.
Whitney performed two concerts over the years at Lehigh University and filmed the music video for her 1987 hit "So Emotional."
The video was shot inside Lehigh's Stabler Arena.
Richard Fritz, the arena director at the time, vividly remembers listening to her extraordinary voice during rehearsals.
He says there's only one way to describe that sound.
"Crystal, crystal clear. As we saw last night on the Grammys, people can sing her songs, people can't replicate that tonal quality that she had," Fritz said.
Fritz says that for all the revelations of her turbulent relationship with her ex-husband Bobby Brown and her struggles with substance abuse, he will always remember the consummate professional with a once-in-a-generation musical gift.
Reverend Jackson says that will be the legacy that Whitney Houston leaves behind.
"You look at her impact in the world, the number of records she sold, the number of lives she impacted. We know her as a singer whose music legacy will live for a long time," Jackson said.
Jackson said he is troubled by reports referring to Whitney's death as her voice being silenced; he says Whitney Houston's voice will never be silenced.