State College (AP) - The electric blue hearse carrying Joe Paterno to
his grave Wednesday wound through the campus of the school he served for
more than 60 years, past the library named for him and his wife and
past the stadium where he won so many of his record-setting 409
Thousands of students, alumni and fans lined the
route four and five deep, more in some places, an honor guard paying
homage to the coach who was the face of Penn State for as long as most of them could remember.
person who was at the service offered some details from the private
funeral Mass but spoke under the condition of anonymity because she was
not authorized to speak publically: Two grandchildren shared a favorite
memory from each of the 17 grandchildren, such as sharing popsicles at
the beach, the time Grandpa ran over a bike and how he'd give candy even
when mom said no. Son Scott's was among four eulogies; he told how Joe
had followed his father's advice to "make an impact" and how the Paterno
kitchen table was round, so there was always room for one more. Hymns
included Be Not Afraid, Amazing Grace, On Eagle's Wings and Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.
The funeral Mass lasted almost two hours and
about 750 mourners -- family, friends, players past and present --
filled every seat. The casket emerged from the back door of the campus
spiritual center at about 4. Onlookers began taking their places along
the processional route by 2:30.
across the street from the driveway of the spiritual center stood 12
deep on a sloping sidewalk. As the hearse made its left turn out of the
driveway, Oliver Sax, 80, Class of '55, raised his arm and waved a final
He has lung cancer, the
disease that took Paterno at 85, and Sax was in chemotherapy at 8
Wednesday morning. His daughter Bonnie picked him up at 2:30 so he could
take his place on the sidewalk.
"Long day," Sax said, "but I had to say goodbye."
behind the hearse were two buses full of family, former coaches and
players and friends. All were headed for a private burial of the Hall of
Jay Paterno, the coach's son and quarterbacks coach, sent a message of acknowledgment via Twitter.
"Thank you to all the people who turned out for my father's procession," he wrote. "Very moving."
Thursday at 2 p.m. ET will be a memorial at the
campus basketball arena. Tickets were snapped up in minutes when they
became available, two-per-person, on Tuesday morning. Some scalpers then
tried to auction tickets on eBay.
tell you how reprehensible I find that," Penn State president Rodney
Erickson said at a faculty senate meeting. (The auctions were taken down
because eBay doesn't allow sale of tickets that are free to the
public.) Erickson was asked at the meeting if the memorial could be
moved to Beaver Stadium so more could attend; he said it wasn't possible
because the stadium is filled with snow and the family requested the
Bryce Jordan Center.
State said it received roughly 300 requests for media seating, more
than it can accommodate. The memorial service will be carried live by
the Big Ten Network and streamed online at GoPSUsports.com and BTN.com.
Perhaps suggesting an informal tone after several days of unrelieved grief, the event is called simply "A Memorial for Joe."