"Rosemary is celebrated and laid to rest"

By LISA DUNBAR, Maysville's Ledger-Independent, July 6, 2002

Friends and family gathered at St. Patrick Church Friday to say goodbye to Maysville’s first lady of song, Rosemary Clooney.

Mayor David Cartmell described the town’s mood as “somber,” and indeed it was as the church filled with mourners from across the country.

Clooney died June 29 in her Beverly Hills home from lung cancer.

Among those attending the funeral Mass from California were Rosemary Clooney’s husband, Dante DiPaolo; her five children, Miguel Ferrer, Gabriel Ferrer, Rafael Ferrer, Maria Murdock and Monsita Botwick; her grandchildren; sister Gayle Darley; nephew George Cloo-ney; and family friends Kathryn Crosby, widow of Bing Crosby, Al Pacino and Beverly D’An-gelo.

More than two dozen floral arrangements adorned the peaceful, gothic interior of St. Patrick Church as it filled with mourners. Among them were Rose-mary’s brother and sister-in-law Nick and Nina Clooney, long-time friend Blanche Chambers and Lt. Gov. Steve Henry and wife Heather French Henry.

Nick Clooney embraced a tearful DiPaolo as the family was seated in the sanctuary and Rev. William Hinds expressed condolences to the family for the loss of a wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

“Rosemary, you are back here at St. Patrick where you were baptized ... took first communion ... and four years ago, married your Dante. So you are here for the last time, Rosemary, with your family ... and at the same time at the gates of heaven,” said Hinds.

Nick Clooney also spoke briefly.

“A few years ago, Rosemary and I agreed that whoever went first, the other would say a few words. I wish I hadn’t agreed to that,” said Clooney.

“Everyone in their secret heart is saying, ‘I knew her best,’” he said. “And they are all correct. ... She connected with everyone from Maysville to Singapore.”

It was this ability to connect with people that makes people – no matter how brief the meeting – feel that they truly knew her, he said.

“Here we are three blocks from her muddy river, in the town she called home, to mourn the days we won’t spend with her and celebrate the ones we did,” said Clooney. “I will do what a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have dared to do – speak for Rosemary. She would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of you.”

One of the conditions Nick said he and Rosemary had agreed to was a time limit of three minutes, he said. And he timed himself at 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

Pallbearers and family followed the casket from the church as those assembled sang “How Great Thou Art.”

Pallbearers included her three sons, along with nephew George Clooney, Jordan Ferrer, Terry Botwick, Nathaniel Botwick, Theodore Botwick and Carlos Campo.

Across the street from the church, photographers and TV media trained cameras on the procession as Clooney’s casket was placed in the hearse for its final ride to St. Patrick Cemetery where graveside rites were performed.

A memorial service and visitation were also held Wednesday at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

No visitation was held in Maysville, but a reception to celebrate Clooney’s life was held at the riverside home of Nick and Nina Clooney in Augusta following graveside rites at the cemetery.