"'Rosemary's gift' remembered at funeral"

Cincinnati Post, July 5, 2002

By 8 this morning two dozen people had already assembled outside St. Patrick's Church in Maysville, Ky., where funeral services for the city's favorite daughter, Rosemary Clooney, would take place two hours later.

But before dawn, local florists had already filled the church with flower arrangements called in from the star's friends all over the world, including one order for white orchids and roses from Bob Hope.

All across the tiny river town of 9,000 people, streets and businesses bustled with activity in preparation for a final farewell to the local girl with the beautiful voice and big heart who died last Saturday.

The 10 a.m. traditional Roman Catholic funeral mass at St. Patrick's Church filled the church, which holds up to 800 people, but there was room inside for all who came to pay their respects.

Ms. Clooney's brother, Nick Clooney, gave a three-minute eulogy and St. Patrick's Church pastor, the Very Rev. William H. Hinds, who also celebrated Ms. Clooney's 1997 marriage, performed the Mass.

''It was Rosemary's gift to connect with anyone from Maysville to Singapore and everywhere in-between,'' her brother said during a three-minute eulogy. ''It was a deceptively simple gift, just as her singing was deceptively simple.''

Mary Palmer, who coordinated the service, said the music included ''Ave Maria'' and ''On Eagle's Wings,'' both requests from Ms. Clooney's family.

Flowers streamed into the church and to members of Ms. Clooney's family. Local florists said most mourners sent roses in honor of Ms. Clooney's nickname, Rosie. She also preferred assortments of white flowers, which would dominate arrangements at today's service, they said.

''She was one of our customers,'' said Maysville florist Leslie Gifford, owner of Carol Jean Flowers. ''She liked all white arrangements. ... The family's pieces were mixed roses ... and Bob Hope wanted to send all white - white roses and white orchids. But we couldn't get the white orchids so we went with all white with the roses.''

Most local hotels and motels were fully booked with guests, for both the holiday weekend and Ms. Clooney's service today.

The Ramada Inn Maysville estimated that half of its 114 rooms were filled with guests in town for the star's funeral.

Following the service, the funeral procession traveled about five miles to St. Pat rick's Cemetery on U.S. 68 for burial.

Those who want to make contributions in Rosemary Clooney's name or send personal condolences to her family have several options.


St. Patrick School, 318 Limestone St., Maysville, Ky. 41056.

The Betty Clooney Foundation for persons with brain injuries, 4426 Village Rd., Long Beach, Calif. 90808.

The Rosemary Clooney Fund, c/o The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. 55905. The first two were specifically designated by Rosemary, said her brother.

Contact the family:

E-mail messages may be sent through the Web site www.rosemaryclooney.com.

Letters and cards may be sent to her family c/o Production Central, 19951 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills, Calif. 91367.

To Nick and Nina Clooney, c/o General Delivery, Augusta, Ky. 41002.