A private funeral was held Wednesday for rock and roll legend Little Richard, who died on May 9 of bone cancer at the age of 87.
The short funeral service — held at the “Good Golly Miss Molly” singer’s alma mater, Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, on Wednesday at 11 a.m. — opened with a reading of a passage from 1 Corinthians, according to footage shared on Facebook by an OU professor.
Oakwood University president Leslie Pollard then addressed the small crowd of Richard’s family, close friends and former band mates.
The service continued with a musical selection from Dr. Janice Browne; words of comfort from Benjamin Browne, the former president of the South Central Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist church in Tennessee; a song from Richard’s niece Brandie Inez Sutton; and a eulogy delivered by Joseph W. McCoy, an S.D.A. pastor in Alabama, according to a copy of the program shared on Facebook.
The service concluded with a collective singing of the hymn “Blessed Assurance” and closing remarks from Furman F. Forham II, another S.D.A. pastor, before the graveside portion of the service, the program showed.
© Provided by People Images/Getty Images Little Richard
Several attendees wore face masks to protect against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and guests and media present were reportedly encouraged to practice social distancing.
News footage of the event shows a small crowd gathering around his gravesite to sing hymns in front of three white crosses after the service.
Prior to the official program, Richard’s casket was taken on a procession around the university’s campus, WAFF 48 reported Wednesday.
Speakers during the service acknowledged not only Richard’s legendary music career that spanned decades and touched multiple generations, but also spoke about his fierce loyalty to those he loved.