Penn State bids final farewell to Paterno
By Veronica Roberts
Thursday January, 26, 2012
University Park, PA]------A second tribute will he held on Thursday for Joe Paterno with a campus memorial at the Jordan Center where students and the community can say their proper goodbyes to their beloved coach. The 10,000 tickets printed for the memorial are reportedly all gone, snapped up since Wednesday. One fan was seen on ABC 7 sadly lamenting he was not one of the lucky ticket holders and he so desperately wanted to attend.
With beautiful flowers and candles piled high at the feet of Paterno's statue, the fourth day of mourning goes on. The lines were long, the tears a river, the outpouring of grief, love and respect plentiful as students, faculty, alumni, community and die-hard fans lined the streets of Pennsylvania around Penn State on Wednesday to watch as Paterno's funeral procession solemnly passed by.
A private Roman Catholic mass was held on Wednesday for the iconic football coach who lost his battle with lung cancer on Sunday. The 46 season veteran coach, part of PSU since 1966, with an impressive 409 wins, was finally laid to rest.
His family made a symbolic entrance to the funeral when they arrived in 2 of those blue school buses Paterno and his team used for travel to and from Saturday football matches, with his wife Sue reportedly sitting in Jo Pa's seat. His grandchildren reportedly escorted the casket down the aisle of the church, while his sons were part of the pallbearers.
Among the high profile guests at the funeral were Tom Bradley, NFL alum Franco Harris, actor William Baldwin and Nike founder Phil Knight.
Those who knew him well say he will never be forgotten for his service to Penn State, his community, his generosity by donating over $4 million to the university, were memorable. One fan tearfully said on Monday, "I will always love Jo Pa--he was not responsible for what happened."
Despite the heavy dark clouds which hovered over the veteran coach during his last days at Penn State, Jo Pa as he was affectionately called, received a hero's send off.
Twitter lit up with goodbye tweets from fans, students past and present.
The 85-year-old Paterno was fired November 9 last year under a hail of scandal involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest for alleged child sexual abuse. Though he was never formally charged with anything, Paterno was tried in a court of public opinion.
He allegedly reported the sexual abuse to University personnel but did not report it to the police after a grad student Mike McQueary told him about the what he say he witnessed in a Penn State bathroom between Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy.
Sandusky is currently under house arrest, out on $250,000 bail after a second arrest on additional charges. The 67-year-old former assistant coach is charged with over 40 counts of child molestation--abuse which allegedly span over 15 years.
Scroll down for my earlier reports:
Monday, January 23, 2012
Click on the above video to see the outpouring of love, respect and grieve, as students, alumni, fans and faculty gathered at Penn State to pay their respects to the legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Despite the shocking child abuse scandal that rocked, then derailed his career at the end, they want him to be remembered for the good he did and the numerous contributions he made to his beloved team, university and community. They want 'Jo Pa's legacy to be the entire man over the years, not just what happened towards to end.
Jo Pa as he was affectionately called, lost his battle with aggressive lung cancer and his death was announced by his family on Sunday. Calling him ."a fighter who lived as he died, fighting to the end" the statement published by Sports News went on to say the iconic coach lived for his family, his players, his community and his university and that the "void he leaves can never be filled."
He leaves behind his wife sue, 5 children and 17 grandchildren.
Funeral announcements are not yet available.
Students gathered in tearful vigil at Penn State on Saturday night to pray for their beloved Jo Pa and again on Sunday and Monday at his statue to pay their respects. Cars are arriving in droves as well as foot traffic. A man in a wheelchair was seen on CNN slowly manuervering in the crowd to show he cared as well. Numerous flowers and candles blanket Penn State grounds left there by distraught fans and they keep coming even as I type to pay tribute to a man they see as great.
One grieving man was heard saying," Paterno will always be loved, he was not responsible for what happened," referring to the child sex abuse scandal that erupted to cut short and mar Paterno's otherwise stellar record which included an impressive 409 wins since his 1966 career as a coach began at PSU.
Twitter lit up with endless tweets, most favorable and some not so much. In the end Paterno generated widespread raw emotion as much as he did leading the Nittany Lions. His stamina, drive and passion followed him to the end.
Scroll down for my earlier report.
Saturday January, 21, 2012
Harrisburg, PA]-----Breaking News: Penn State veteran former coach Joe Paterno is Reportedly Gravely Ill and his last rites already given at State College hospital where he has been under-going treatment.
According to The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pa, Paterno is losing his battle with lung cancer and is sadly dying.
The 85-year-old ex-coach last days at Penn State were not pleasant, fired amid a shocking child sex abuse scandal where his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested November 5, 2011 and charged with over 40 counts of molestation.
Paterno was fired November 9, for allegedly not notifying police about the abuse after he was told about it by then graduate student Mike McQueary. He did reportedly inform Penn State personnel.
Paterno's firing did not go down well with many of the students at the university and riots erupted on campus the night after. Students also gathered outside his home in support.
Not all students protested his firing though and some felt it was justified. Holding up a sign which said, "All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed, is for enough good men to remain silent," some students protested the years of cover-up that existed in the hallowed halls of learning.
After his stellar decades long, 46 seasons career at Penn, and his generosity in donating over $4 million to that university, the beloved coach had to leave under a cloud of shame instead of the pomp and ceremony his career would have garnered under normal circumstances.. His difficult time was compounded when he was diagnosed with cancer on November 19.
A family spokesperson has issued a statement reportedly asking for privacy at this very difficult time.
Will bring you updates as they become available.