"Rosemary Clooney funeral this morning at St. Patrick Church"

By BETTY COUTANT, Maysville's Ledger Independent - July 5, 2002

The world lost international singing sensation Rosemary Clooney last weekend, but the death of the Maysville native and Augusta homeowner is particularly devastating for area residents.

The Girl Singer always maintained her roots in the area, but only recently began making an annual trek to her Augusta home to perform at the Maysville Rosemary Clooney Music Festival.

Residents in Augusta Thursday night held a candlelight vigil in front of her home.

She will come home to stay Friday when she will be buried in St. Patrick Cemetery near her mother and grandmother following a 10 a.m. service that is open to the public.

Services are at St. Patrick Church where she married Dante DiPaolo in 1997. Rev. William Hinds, the parish priest, will perform the funeral mass.

Clooney, 74, died of lung cancer Saturday at her home in Beverly Hills with her husband and five children by her side.

A simple 20-minute rosary service was held Wednesday in Beverly Hills at the Church of the Good Shepherd with about 350 people attending, including Olympic skating star Scott Hamilton and composer and performer Michael Feinstein, who was Clooney’s friend and performed with her at the 2001 music festival.

A reception in celebration of her life will be held in Augusta from 1 to 4 p.m. following the funeral at the Riverside Drive home of her brother, Nick, and sister-in-law, Nina Clooney.

In addition to her husband and her brother, Clooney’s five children – Miguel Ferrer, Gabriel Ferrer, Rafael Ferrer, Maria Murdock and Monsita Botwick – will be present. The reception is also open to the public.

Clooney began her musical career literally on the streets of Maysville, frequently entertaining passersby with her sister, Betty, who retired early from the business and died in 1976.

She went on to become a singing sensation, which led her to a career in television and movies. Her first movie, “The Stars are Singing,” premiered at the Russell Theatre in Mays-ville.

Clooney agreed to sing in the streets once again to help restore the theater that put Maysville on the map.

Her brother emceed all three Clooney festivals.