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Funeral of Maureen Reagan

Aired August 18, 2001 - 13:00   ET


DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The funeral of Maureen Reagan, Ronald Reagan's oldest child, the one they call Mermie, is being laid to rest in California today. You are looking at a live picture of the cathedral there. It is the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, California. From CNN center this is CNN SATURDAY. I'm Donna Kelley.

Maureen Reagan lost her battle with cancer ten days ago. Today is funeral in Sacramento. We're going to take you there now to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. CNN's Frank Buckley is standing by -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donna, you're right. Maureen Reagan did lose her battle to melanoma, a five year long battle. She died at the age of 60. Today we are about to get under way with the memorial service and funeral mass here at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

We can show you inside the view as people are preparing for the beginning of this. Earlier we can show you the arrival of Nancy Reagan, the former first lady, arriving with Patti Davis. Patti Davis, the half-sister of Maureen Reagan. Also among those who are attending here, the actor, David Hyde Pierce. David Hyde Pierce along with the actress Shelley Fabares. Both of them expected to participate during the memorial service.

Both of them touched through family connections with Alzheimer's disease. David Hyde Pierce, his grandfather was a victim of Alzheimer's disease. His father passed away from dementia attributed to Alzheimer's disease. Shelley Fabares' mother also died from Alzheimer's disease.

Also here in attendance Maureen Reagan's biological mother, Jane Wyman, and her siblings: Michael Reagan, Ron Reagan Junior, and Patti Davis as we mentioned. Also speaking during the funeral mass will be Senator John McCain and EPA administer Christie Todd Whitman. The special moment that we will be witnessing here shortly will be the pallbearers bringing the casket into the church.

All of them are secret service agents who were at one time or another were detailed to Maureen Reagan, many of them coming from different parts of the world all to be here for this day -- Donna.

KELLEY: Frank Buckley, thank you very much. Someone who knew Maureen Reagan during the years her father was in the White House is Richard Allen, former national security adviser during Mr. Reagan's first term. He joins us on the phone from Vail, Colorado. Mr. Allen, tell us about her.

RICHARD ALLEN, FMR. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Maureen Reagan was an extraordinary, dedicated, enthusiastic, loyal person and I think she was of enormous support to her father. Both Nancy and the president were very proud of her. She was always by his side and she worked hard on an agenda that resembled her father's but was fiercely independent at the same time. And never hesitated to speak out, always directly, forcefully and I think always properly.

KELLEY: You were her friend for 25 years. Tell us what you liked best about her.

ALLEN: It's hard to describe a personality as effervescent and as forthcoming as Maureen Reagan. I wasn't her closest friend, her closest social friend. But I was a friend in the sense that she was always there when I wanted to talk to her, get her counsel, and I for her. And we had a broad exchange of views on all sorts of things, particularly policy because she was intensely interested in policy.

KELLEY: Let me interrupt you for just a minute, Mr. Allen, but I want to reference the pictures we are seeing here now on CNN. We're seeing Jane Wyman, her mother going into the church along with her husband, Dennis Revell. And we know Jane Wyman will be placing the cross on the casket along with Nancy Reagan who will be placing the book of the Gospels.

Pardon the interruption there but we just wanted to tell folks what they were seeing. Go right ahead.

ALLEN: Again, it's times like this are very difficult when a person as extraordinary as Maureen slips the surly bonds. She was a woman dedicated to good causes. She had a way about her that could enchant people. She was exceptionally credible not only as a spokesman for father but also as a spokesman for those things in which she believed and where she may have diverged from her father.

Just a bubbly, wonderful, outgoing personality and everyone liked to be Maureen's friend. I was proud and privileged to be counted one of her friends.

KELLEY: Tell us how she changed in goals as she got so involved with Alzheimer's after father diagnosed with the disease.

ALLEN: I hasn't tracked that as closely as others have, but everything that I know, indicates that Maureen took up the cudgel, so to speak, the cross, the crusade to work hard for greater understanding of Alzheimer's disease and greater funding for Alzheimer's disease.

She was a woman who when ignited with a cause truly embraced it, and made no bones about it in her wide circle of friends and acquaintances --far wider than a normal person's. And enlisted those people on behalf of a cause. And that's what she did with Alzheimer's. I think that is quiet remarkable.

KELLEY: Richard Allen, the former national security adviser. We're glad to have you with us and tell us more about her. She certainly sounded like a remarkable woman. I like your two words describing her: enchanting and effervescent. Thanks very much. Just a moment ago we saw Nancy Reagan and her stepmother, who has been seated in the church. We saw a picture of the casket outside the church.

We're getting very close to starting the ceremony. There you see the casket once again with the pall bearers getting ready to come in. Maureen Reagan's brother, Michael Reagan says that his sister was the one who took the most responsibility for the family. And he did speak about sister earlier on CNN.


MICHAEL REAGAN, MAUREEN REAGAN'S BROTHER: Many people have talked about this family over the years. Maureen is the one in the last few years that has really picked it up. And I think that, if anything, she showed me leadership where maybe I've been too busy doing other things.

What she's really -- I think, wanted all of us to do, me and Patti and Ron, is, I am gone. I can't be there for your dad anymore every day, calling Nancy every day: I can't be there for mom, Mike, like I was to make sure everything is OK with her. You need to also now pick this up where I left it. So that's what I need to do. I need to say, what would Maureen do? (END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLEY: Comments from Maureen's brother, Michael, there earlier on CNN. Here we see the casket getting ready to go in. Pall bearers are going to carry the casket into the church with Maureen Reagan and the reverends will come to meet the family and the casket at the front door.

They will bless the casket with holy water and then her husband Dennis and daughter, Rita, will be there. They will have a song. And then at the sanctuary, Jane Wyman, her mother will place the cross then her stepmother, Nancy Reagan will place the book of the Gospels, and we will see a video of Maureen's life to start out.

And then we will be hearing from actors and politicians and activists as well. Frank Buckley is outside the church -- Frank.

BUCKLEY: Donna, the flowers that you saw atop the casket as it was going in, there is a special significance to those flowers. They were the same color scheme that Maureen and Dennis Revell, her husband used in their wedding in 1981. Also something very poignant here and one can imagine how difficult this must have been, but we're told that Maureen Reagan and Dennis Revell together chose all of the music that would be played at today's memorial service.

So you can imagine how that must have been as the two of them were preparing for her passing -- Donna. KELLEY: She married Dennis Revell, a Sacramento lobbyist and public relations firm owner back in 1981 and they are starting the service right now.


REVEREND ANDREW HERMAN: Simon and I now will go to be back of the church and we will sprinkle the casket with water that's blessed. That is simply a reminder of Maureen's baptism earlier in her life. And then, Dennis and Rita will place a white garment over the casket. It's called a pall, white, symbol of life.

No longer black, symbol of mourning. Although we do that as well. And then for the last time, to the accompaniment of our first hymn for Maureen, we will bring her body into this church. So I invite you now to stand, if you wish, and face to the rear, if you are able.

KELLEY: There you see some of the folks we'll hear from during the service. Senator John McCain is going to be speaking as is Governor Gray Davis of California you see there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We remember that in the waters of baptism some years ago, you died with Jesus and then rose with him to a new life. We now believe you share in his eternal glory and love and peace.

KELLEY: Once again, Frank Buckley outside the church -- Frank. The connection between Senator McCain and Maureen?

BUCKLEY: I was talking about to someone about that this week, wondering how far back that went. Apparently the two of them are long time friends. This friend describing the two of them as kindred spirits. Both of them believing that the Republican Party could be more inclusive. Also both of them fighting skin cancer and also both families had adopted children of color. The -- in the case of the Reagans or the Revell's they adopted Rita, who is now 16 from Uganda and in the case of the McCain family they adopted Brigitte from Bangladesh.

That was part of the connection between McCain and Mrs. Reagan.

KELLEY: A couple of other people who have connections with her who we will be hearing from shortly as well, David Hyde Pearce, who many people will recognize from the sitcom, "Frasier," he is talking. His grandfather passed away from Alzheimer's and his father passed away from dementia that they attributed to Alzheimer's and also Shelley Fabares. She lost her mother back in 1992 to Alzheimer's. So the connection there and they will be two of the first speakers.

This is, "On Eagle's Wings," by the way, if you recognize that song that they are singing, the hymn here. And then we are expecting, as soon as this hymn finishes up, Jane Wyman is going to be placing the cross and her stepmother, Nancy Reagan will place the book of Gospels. And then they will have a short prayer and a statement about what is going to happen. They will give us a preview of it.

We'll see a video of Maureen's life and then we will be hearing from actors and politicians and activists during this memorial service. They intended for this service to start on time. It was told to folks that they needed to get here. This is a public memorial service and then they will transition into the mass. But they said no seating after 10 minutes to the top of the hour. They wanted to get folks seated and started on time.

BUCKLEY: And Donna, I just wanted to add, the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made. We are talking to her commitment to Alzheimer's research, that they are asking that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association, the Maureen Reagan Tribute Fund has been set up there.

They are located in Chicago. They have a Web site, Again, it is the Maureen Reagan Tribute Fund at the Alzheimer's Association.

KELLEY: That is right, Frank. They named one of three places they would like donations to go. Let's listen in now.

FATHER SIMON: Maureen received this sign of the cross. As you shared in Jesus' suffering, especially lately, now share in his victory over death. In his name, amen. Please be seated. Good morning. Welcome to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament here in Sacramento. I'd like to thank you all for coming.

Today's celebration of Maureen's new life will be in two parts. Firstly, we will have a memorial service with a number of excellent speakers, video of Maureen's life, and a special guest is going to speak to us through video also a little bit later. This will be immediately followed by the celebration of mass, our Eucharist.

So to begin, I would like to offer Maureen's husband Dennis and wonderful daughter Rita, and mom, Jane, dad, President Reagan, his wife Nancy, her brothers, her sister and all of her family our sincerest sympathy. We want to let you all know that you're in our thoughts and in our prayers.

As we gather here today, our feeling of sense of loss, a great loss in our lives, a new void has been created. The pain, at times the anger. I think it's all best summed up in a poem by W.H. Auden called "Funeral Blues." It says, "Stop all the clocks, cutoff the telephone. Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone. Silence the pianos with muffled drum. Bring out the coffin and let the mourners come. Let airplanes circle mourning overhead scribbling on the sky the message, 'he is dead.' Put crepe bows around the white necks of the public doves.

Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves. He was my north, my south, my east and my west, my working week and my Sunday rest, my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. I thought that love would last forever, but I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now, put out everyone. Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood, for nothing now can ever come to any good.

But unlike Auden, love for us must last forever as death is not the end, the beginning. For the past ten days we have been watching television and listening to the radio, hearing all about Maureen Elizabeth -- how She was outspoken, she was a fighter, a champion of so many causes, a spokesperson second to none, someone who was not afraid to give you her opinion.

I want to tell you about the Maureen Elizabeth I knew, my friend for many years now. The first time I met Maureen and Dennis I thought Maureen was Auntie Mame and the pied piper all wrapped in one. She had an encompassing way about her. She had an infectious smile, a twinkle in her eye and what a laugh. Didn't she give the greatest hugs? Think about how she grabbed you and -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

She was very Irish in her ways. One would think she kissed the Blarney Stone, I think she ate a piece of it, you know.

Maureen never made you feel inferior. You were always an equal in conversations. She loved to talk about family, or two or three weeks ago when she came back from the hospital she was down one day and she was laughing and she was telling me about Rita. You know Rita, her daughter, had come home with her first paycheck and one would think you're all excited coming in with your first paycheck.

Not Rita, she was mad as all get out, and asked, Mom, who is this guy FICA?


I need not tell you Maureen's reply.


She would talk and worry about her Mom's health, very concerned about her. And she would tell me about her dad's deteriorating condition and how difficult it was for Nancy and you could see the love oozing out of her as she talked about them. I think when she came closer to dying, I cut my hand one day giving her communion, and she said of Simon, take care of Dennis for me. She oozed of love, didn't she?

In all the times I'd visit her in hospital or at home, she never expressed anger or disappointment at God. She never said "Why me? I have so much to do." She looked forward to receiving the body of Christ. Communion was so vital to her and she would light up and receive the Lord and she had a great oneness with him. She had a great love of God and knew beyond any doubt that God loved her.

So today we give our gift of Maureen to God. We have to see her in God's peace and know that because of her presence in heaven, heaven will be a better place. She's probably organizing God right now, you know.


So, thank you, God, for our Maureen.




MAUREEN REAGAN: Welcome to the White House for Women's Equality Day.


This 64th anniversary of women's suffrage is the day, August 26, of every year, that we celebrate women's equality day. And I can tell you over the years I've celebrated at a lot of different places, celebrating the accomplishments of many different groups of women, from women serving in the military, to women in large corporations, to community action groups, and this is really exciting to be celebrating your accomplishments today, you're great.


The idea for this came about six months ago, when I was discussing one night quietly with a relative of mine who lives here...


... the incredible energy that occurs whenever any group of the women who serve in this administration get together, and how incredible that energy would be if they were all altogether in the same place at the same time. And he said "what about the South Lawn?"

And here we are.

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't help thinking that women like you, women who have accepted the burdens of government service and worked so successfully to give our country a new birth of freedom and vitality, show clearly just how much American women can accomplish. For example, take a certain woman -- I think her name is Maureen -- Maureen has worked in radio and television, she has promoted overseas trade and run for political office. And today she's helping her old man communicate to women all that our administration is trying to accomplish.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now Maureen, we all love you. That's why we're here. And you all know when Maureen gives you the large hello, boy, it is terrific.


It's just wonderful. I'm here to tell you that no one is better qualified than Maureen Reagan to represent this country at the U.N. Commission on the status of women. And I am really happy to be here and to honor her. Most of you are familiar with Maureen's great performance as head of our delegation to the U.N. Women's Conference in Nairobi last summer. That brilliant effort came as no surprise. She has a long and distinguished record speaking out to the American public on women's issues. I think sometimes she even speaks out to her father on women's issues.


She's been active in Republican women's issues as founder and present chairman of the newly created G.O.P. Women's Political Action League, and as special consultant for women's issues to the Republican national chairman.

As head of our Nairobi delegation at the conferences leading up to the one in Nairobi, Maureen accelled at multilateral diplomacy. How about that? Again, this was not surprising given Maureen's extensive worldwide travel on behalf of American export trade. As anyone who has worked with her knows, she is a determined champion of the causes in which she believes.

She has devoted years of service to the Arthritis Foundation on whose behalf she has hosted many telethons and major fund-raising events.

R. REAGAN: I want to thank Secretary Schultz and Assistant Secretary Keys for hosting this reception, and all of you for coming by this evening. And I can't tell you how much fun it is to spring this little surprise on Maureen.


Some of you may think it a little unfair to catch her off guard like this, but let me assure you, I am returning a favor she's been doing for me all my life.


The truth is, Maureen has been surprising me and making me very proud for a very long time. If you would let me tell this one little story. I think all of you know that when a candidate for president gets the required number of votes at a political convention, it's traditional for the press and the cameras to come bursting in to his hotel room for pictures of the family celebrating.

Well, back in 1980, when we were in that gigantic renaissance center in Detroit, I noticed just before the magic moment that everybody in the Reagan clan was there except Maureen. And naturally with only a few minutes I started asking everyone, where is Maureen, where is Maureen?

And I could already hear some commentator saying, oh, yeah, that is this fella who has just been nominated to run for the most powerful post in the free world, he cant even find his own daughter.


Then sure enough, it hit me and everyone else in the room. And only a few seconds later there was confirmation right there on the television set in front of us. Maureen wasn't there because she had duties to perform as an alternate delegate and leader in the California delegation. One of which, come to think of it, was voting for me.


Now, I hadn't been in politics as long as some people, but I did know that that was the wrong moment to start taking anything for granted. So as I listened to Maureen on television, just this once, I was glad she was on the floor and not with us.

And there's a little sequel to this, last year I kept seeing in those reports about the U.N. conference wrapping up the decade of women. I think some of you remember that there was a good deal of speculation that the whole conference was going to become politicized. Matters of propaganda, exercise on extraneous matters rather than a serious exchange on the issues that uniquely affect women.

There was some talk too, about how the American delegation, which Maureen was heading, was going to be outsmarted, out-maneuvered and probably embarrassed by all of this. And you know, every time I read one of those reports I got this big Cheshire cat-like grin. Because I was thinking to myself, somebody out there sure doesn't know my daughter.


Those of us here today do know Maureen. At state, you know her by the wonderful job she did do in Nairobi. You know how effectively she worked to get agreement on the consensus document that would make the conference the success that it was, and bring the American delegation the credit it deserved. You know too, that she'll do a fine job as our representative to the U.N. Commission on the status of women.

And, of course, for Nancy and me, Maureen is someone we love dearly, and yet someone whom we also recognize is the extraordinary individual that she is. And that isn't all that easy. As I said, it's always a little bit of a surprise for a father, just as it was that night in Detroit, to realize that that's your daughter up there on the TV screen, not only a grown woman, and I'm not that old yet...


... but a leader, a mover, someone who is making the world a whole lot better place to live. But all these things Maureen is. That's why Nancy, and I, and all of you love her for it.

So I want to thank Maureen today, as her father for making me so proud of her on this occasion and so many others, but also as her president. I want to thank her on behalf of the American people for distinguished service to her country in the cause of human pregnancy ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): My time on Earth, long as it seems, is just a moment in the grand scheme of things.

A short refrain of life's endless song, sung only once and then we're gone.

My time on Earth, each breath I breathe, is one more chance to share my love with those around me.

We come and go, like shooting stars. The truth be known, that's all we are.

The more that I know, the more I can see. The older I grow, the more I believe. It's not the length of the life, or the depth of the grave, in the end we'll be measured by the love that we gave.

So my time on Earth, on fate depends, but all that happens in the space we're meant to live

Depends on me, and choices I face. For better or worse they're mine to make.

The more that I know, the more I can see. The older I grow, the more I believe it's not the length of the life, or the depth of the grave. In the end we'll be measured by the love that we gave.

So my time on Earth will be well spent, and when I leave this world, I'll leave with no regrets.

I'll live and love for all its worth, 'till I live out my time on Earth.

'Till I live out my time on Earth

HERMAN: Thank you, Dennis. After that, it may seem that not much more needs to be said. But Maureen was in many ways a jewel of a human being and she had a lot of sides and a lot of facets. And there are people whom she touched and who touched her in many different ways.

And I have the pleasure of introducing a few of them, as will Father Simon following me. The first four associated with her primarily, although one longer than this because of her dad's illness. And it is my pleasure first of all then, to introduce to you a person whose face and talent is known to you from his work as an actor.

KELLEY (voice-over): Interrupt here for just a quick moment to let our viewers know that Science and Technology, usually seen at the time, being preempted so that we can bring you a little bit more of the Maureen Reagan service.

Reverend Andrew Herman right here is going to be introducing, we believe, Mr. David Hyde Pierce that you'll recognize as the actor from "Frasier." He's connected through Alzheimer's. His grandfather passed away as a result of Alzheimer's, as his father.

DAVID HYDE PIERCE, ACTOR: Good morning. It's not fair to have to talk after that.

Maureen and I met and worked together through the Alzheimer's Association. And we were filming a public service announcement in a park in Chicago, and she and I, it was the two of us and about a hundred extras behind us. It was a very elaborate shot that took all morning to set up.

We finally were about ready, and a cameraman was here, and Maureen and I were her, and the hundreds behind us, and the sun had broken through the clouds about an hour earlier. And just as we were about to shoot, Maureen noticed the cameraman was turning red. And she said to him, are you wearing sunscreen? And he said, well, no. And she said, well, we'll wait.


And we did. In total silence in the park, a hundred people, as the cameraman slowly put suntan lotion all over himself. Behind us you could hear the sound of select people in the crowd also doing the same thing, because they didn't want to get asked the same question.

Maureen took care of people, took in the sense of taking charge, taking control, taking the reigns. And when she was given lemons in life, she did not make lemonade. She took the lemons and threw them back and said oh, no you don't. When cancer touched her life she fought it not only for herself but for everyone. When Alzheimer's touched her family, she fought it not just in her family but for everyone's family.

If I were to try to find another example of that kind of devotion, that kind of passion, that kind of taking care, I would have to look no further than the front row, because Rita and Dennis you took that kind of care of Maureen. It was a blessing for her.

Dennis knew more about medications, and treatments, and potential treatments than all the doctors combined, and there was not a hospital bureaucracy, or a lazy intern, or a procedural snafu that could withstand the force of his love, and devotion and care.

I know that you were -- you and Maureen were made for each other. I think you also -- once you met, you had you to end up together, because neither one of you will take no for an answer.

I am so blessed to know you, and to have known Maureen and worked with her. The example of your love and care of her, and her extraordinary devotion and care to everything that she believed in will live on in me as inspiration and motivation as long as memory serves. Thank you.

KELLEY (voice-over): David Hyde Pierce, who is the actor there, talking about his connection to Maureen Reagan, connected by Alzheimer's.

And coming up next -- and there you see Jane Wyman and husband Dennis Revell there.

Now we will hear from Shelley Fabares. She's also a familiar face to you, she's an actress. And her mother passed away from Alzheimer's back in 1992.

HERMAN: And together with people like David, she serves on the board of the national association and also of the local chapter. I hope I'm getting all of this right.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you now Miss Shelley Fabares.


Maureen Elizabeth Reagan, a woman of enormous intellect, charm, passion, compassion, humor, curiosity, laughter, loyalty, love. Our acquaintance began through our work with the Alzheimer's Association. She blew in like a blast of fresh air. We were the lucky and grateful recipients of her fierce intelligence, her passion, her drive and her complete and utter devotion to eradicating this miserable disease.

Our friendship began across the tables of board meetings. One of my earliest and favorite memories of Maureen comes from our first shared committee meeting. I found myself with furrowed brow struggling to understand the complexities of the issue at hand, when I looked over and saw Maureen siting a few feet back from the table, calmly knitting.

I thought -- well the truth is, I thought: how odd? Well maybe that's just what she does if she's struggling to comprehend something. A few moments later we all heard this somewhat booming voice from the knitter saying, here's what we should do, and proceeded to lay out a complete, intricate, thoughtful, perfect solution. Never for a moment taking her eyes off her knitting or dropping a stitch. She won my heart and my admiration then and there.

Maureen and I became friends to the surprise, I believe, of both of us. We were on opposite ends of the political spectrum. At the beginning I thought, whatever will we talk about if not Alzheimer's? But our conversations were about all the things true friends talk about. All the soul-touching, important things of life: family, friends, children, clothes, hairdos. She gave me no end of grief with her usually great, good humor about the dollops of pink in my hair. We laughed, we cried. She spoke to me of her darling Dennis and her unbridled love, delight and pride in their beautiful Rita. Our friendship was deep, but only just beginning. I mourn the days we won't have.

Whenever I think of Maureen, it has always been, and will always be, of this glorious powerhouse of a woman: grace, mischievousness, character, integrity. She was the essence of her code name, Radiant.

She would walk in the room, light it up with her smile, her energy, her wondrous laugh, her vitality, and sweep us all along on the ride of our lives.

Maureen was that person you could disagree with to the max, have a huge discussion, really go at it, then link arms, have a laugh and head out to dinner. One of the great lessons she taught me. I am forever grateful.

Many years ago, a great, grace full young man, a wonderful athlete, lost his valiant struggle against a terrible illness. Like Maureen's, his was a courageous battle fought with honor and dignity. A man who loved him dearly wrote of him words that are supremely perfect for her.

When we think of her, it's not how she died that we remember, but rather how she lived. How she did live.

Safe journey, sweet Maureen, as bands of angels sings thee to thy rest.

HERMAN: Our next speaker is a person whose face may not be known to you, but whose work is. And again it is my pleasure to introduce to you Mrs. Orien Reid, who the national board chairman of the Alzheimer's Association.

ORIEN REID, ALZHEIMER'S ASSN., CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. This is very difficult for me today. We are all struggling to balance a tremendous sense of loss with heartfelt gratitude for the all-too brief time that Maureen touched all of our lives.

When Maureen's father, former President Ronald Reagan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease she could have gone into seclusion, but that wasn't Maureen. was a fighter, and giving up was simply not an option.

She marshaled that marvelous gift of communication, immense charm, a broad smile, passionate devotion to her father, all in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. She captured both the minds and hearts around the world, and she was such an effective spokesperson and advocate.

As a member of the association's board of directors, Maureen served on the marketing and communications and public policy committees, which benefited greatly, as Shelley said, from her keen instincts and wise counsel.

Before being elected to the national board, she was the national honorary chair of Memory Walk. In just four years, she helped to raise more than $60 million. All of this going to programs and services to help families who are coping with Alzheimer's.

Maureen quickly became known for her compelling testimony before Congress, a captivating presenter. She told our nation's leaders, "We urgently need a billion dollars now for Alzheimer's research, because 14 million babies boomers have the sentence of Alzheimer's disease today."

Last summer, Maureen mesmerized audiences as the keynote speaker for the World Alzheimer Congress 2000. It was a largest ever international conference on the disease. And after news of her death circled the globe, we have received condolences from Japan to London, all expressing sadness at her passing.

Giving new meaning to the word "frequent flyer," Maureen worked tirelessly to help the association's chapters. She was helping them to raise awareness and helping them to raise money. She attended fund-raisers from New York to San Diego, from Tulsa to Cincinnati. And in each one of these communities she met with donors, she did local media interviews, and she so graciously greeted each and every one of her admirers.

In recognition of all of the outstanding work that she's done for the association, Maureen was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Service award last October.

I met Maureen for the first time in 1998 when she came to my home city of Philadelphia. She was a keynote speaker for the Nancy and Ronald Reagan luncheon there. She clearly gave it her all.

I thought, well maybe she's a little tired. She is given so much today. Maybe I can find a place for her to just sort of sit quietly and get some rest, because she came on like a bull in a china closet. She gave it her all. And I said, Maureen, why don't you come over here and sit and rest? And as I was about to leave, she said, where are you going? Stay and talk to me. And that was the beginning of a long-term friendship.

I then fell love with both Rita, as we talked about our daughters, and Dennis, as we talked about you. Over the years, Dennis, I've come to admire and respect the vital supporting role that you've played. You've helped the association in shaping its messages, and helping Maureen to articulate it so effectively.

Dennis, for your love and for your commitment to Maureen, the way you've protected her, the way you have helped her, and the way you have helped us, we are so grateful for that. We know, and we're counting on yours and Rita's continues helped and efforts on Maureen's behalf.

Maureen was just so very special and everybody could see that. Last September, we appeared together at the National Association of Federal Retired Employees convention, and it was there after one of her powerful presentations that someone compared her to Marie Antoinette. And she said oh, no, I don't want to be known as somebody who chops off people's heads. And then she said, I'd rather be called the Joan of Arc. From that point on, we called her the Joan of Arc of Alzheimer's.

No hospital bed was going to stop Maureen in her fight against this disease. In April, she calls CNN's Larry King show to urge Congress to invest a billion dollars into funding for Alzheimer's research. In May, after her doctors refused to let her travel to Chicago to receive the Rita Hayworth gala's civic honoree award, she delivered her acceptance speech by phone, and she explained to the group why it's so important that they continue to support the association's mission.

Maureen truly has been the Joan of Arc for the association. A woman with indomitable spirit, a woman of unassailable truth, and a woman who has led the charge in fighting for a world without Alzheimer's disease. Thank you.

HERMAN: The last speech in this group of four who were connected by other reasons, as you've heard, but also because of family members who have suffered from Alzheimer's, this last speaker also went years before that with Maureen. Good friends, good workers. A lady from Palm Springs, Mrs. Edie Keller.

EDIE KELLER, ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION: Please bear with me while I read this letter to Maureen.

Dearest friend, I first want to thank you for our 30-year friendship. For being in our lives and for sharing with Bob and I, yours and Dennis and Rita's life.

When we met 30 years ago, we never could have predicted the path we were on. When your dad and my mom were diagnosed about the same time, a friendship turned into a crusade.

When I called you to say we needed an office for the Alzheimer's Association in the desert. You said, we can do this. When I called and said we were given the charge to put on a gala for the first anniversary of the opening of the desert office you said, we can do this. Whatever the problem, the solution always included: we can do this. No was never an acceptable answer, always: how?

When we needed a theme for our first gala, you thought for a minute and said, I've got it - memories are made of this. So that became the signature theme for the annual gala in the desert. Today my memories are overflowing. If you don't mind, I'd like to share a few of them with those gathered here today.

All who knew you knew that you didn't do things simply, but in the style that was yours alone. Several years ago, since we were spending Christmases together in the desert, you decided this Jewish kid needed a Christmas tree. You called and said, "I'm going to send you a little tree. You need it." I said, ok. What did I know?

Resin aside, if you ever saw Maureen, Dennis and Rita's home at Christmas, you know there is not a niche unadorned. How boring to come to my naked house. So arrived, as you promised, not a little tree but a fully adorned six-foot golden tree.

On one of your television shopping sprees you decided I too, needed the facial system that you had discovered. And so arrived a ten-year supply.


About three months ago I was complaining to you I was getting a little tired of wearing my wig. My hair was starting to grow back from my chemo loss, and you said, I've got an idea - Gail and I will make some chemo kerchiefs, for both of us. I said, great. And she said, I'll send you a few. Arrived 12 chemo kerchiefs in assorted colors.

Memories flood from sitting on your bed in 1982 while the house was being painted, and planning your media campaign for you Senate run, to our trips to Japan, our outing in the wine country, Christmases, birthdays, Fourth of Julys. Friendship is made of memories, lives are made of memories, memories are made of this.

You are in my heart, you are in my head. I will keep the promises I made to you. You passed the torch to us, your Alzheimer's family, and we will carry it into the final gala where your words: we now celebrate the first survivors of this devastating disease.

This physical good-bye is only that. You will be with me always. I will end this as we did every phone call: love you. Edie.

KELLEY (voice-over): For our viewers who usually tune in for, we want to let you know we are in the Maureen Reagan memorial service and funeral mass. We will continue that.

You can see in its entirety, 4:30 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow, on Sunday. Our next speaker in the service is Sharon Davis. She is the first lady of California.

HERMAN: And as Maureen, I'm sure, would love me to say: a fellow Democrat in this sea of Republicans.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you now someone who holds an additional title, Mrs. Sharon Davis, the first lady of California.

SHARON DAVIS, FIRST LADY OF CALIFORNIA: I was one of many who had the great fortune of getting to know Maureen. It was about a year ago and we were planning the governor's conference for women and I had called her and asked her to speak. And she said, absolutely. It was another opportunity for her to get the word out about a issue she was so passionate about.

About this time, she ended up in Chicago for a board meeting and she had to go into the hospital for emergency surgery. So she called the office to explain why she would not be able to do the conference. And then she said but I want to take to Sharon personally. And that's the kind of person she was.

She was not satisfied to let anybody else deliver bad news. She would do it herself, but in a way that you felt you were fortunate just to have had the opportunity to hear from her personally, that even though this was kind of unexpected, I would have -- you would have thought maybe she just missed flight.

She took it rather casually, she joked about it. She wanted to put me at ease when she was faced with a very serious medical condition. That's the kind of extraordinary person that I am so pleased to speak about today. On behalf of all Californians we feel a great loss in the passing of Maureen Reagan. She embodied the very essence of California spirit: optimism, activism, heroism, and an extraordinary sense of humor.

To Maureen, family, to her loving husband and beautiful daughter, to her dear, dear friends, I hope that you find comfort in knowing how deeply loved Maureen was. And I hope that you find comfort in God and comfort in the each other and know that you are not alone. For on this day, so many Californians, so many Americans, so many people all over the world are mourning with you.

As member of a political family myself, I know that the demands of public life can often mask the spirit and the character of good people who are trying so hard to make a difference. But it never dimmed the smile, never took away the energy, never zapped the eloquence or the passion of Maureen Reagan. She loved life. She loved her family. She loved her friends. She had a laugh that was infectious.

I had the great privilege of knowing her for only a short time. But my life has been changed forever. In the life when you get to meet so many people, you rarely meet someone with such a singular commitment, somebody who can inspire you by that commitment. And I hope that it is our commitment today that we will carry on her work, that the same zeal, that the same commitment, find a cause you can believe in and fight for it as Maureen did. And that's how we keep her alive.

Of all the things that -- of all the gifts she possessed, she had an endless ability to connect with other people. She had a last name that was immortalized in the world of politics and yet she found a public voice that transcended politics. She did not care about political labels. She cared about people. And in her memoirs she wrote this very important line, something we could all live by: "Our time here on Earth is precious and short, and we should make the most of what we have a chance to do.".

She made the most of it. We are all better off for Maureen Reagan spending time on this earth, however short. May God give you strength and heal your hurt today and may Maureen find peace in the grace of God. We miss you, Maureen. We always will.

KELLEY: We believe next in the program there is going to be a videotaped from the president of Uganda. You may have heard earlier, their 16 year old daughter, Rita, is from Uganda.

HERMAN: One of the people who could not here for this service has sent a message through videotape. He has known Maureen and Dennis and Rita for long time. And it is through them that he became a lot more known to lot of Americans, at least certainly to this one. I would like to present to you the president of Uganda.


H.E. YOWERI MOUSEVENI, PRESIDENT OF UGANDA: There was a big U.N. conference on women in Nairobi, Kenya. From the media, I learned that a big U.S. delegation, led by a daughter of President Reagan known as Maureen, was attending the conference. At that time, it was reported that Maureen was 35 years of age. It somehow pleased me that President Reagan had another child in my age group. At that time, I was 41 years old.

That vague happiness on my side must have been due to the fact that figures like Mr. Reagan had been hate figures for the African pictures of the 1960s, especially the youth. The African students of the 1960s had violent antagonism toward the American elite, especially the ones perceived to be on the right of the political spectrum in the United States.

We were opposed to the war in Vietnam. We were opposed to the U.S. government's so-called, in quotes, "constructive engagements" with the resistance regimes of South Africa, including the Portuguese colonies. We were opposed to the perceived oppression of the black people in the United States, and so on.

By 1985, some of these oppressive situations had been resolved. The psychosis of the 1960s, however, had not been eliminated. That is why it vaguely pleased me to know that a new generation of Americans was growing up. Although I do not think much about it, it must have been lurking in the back of my mind that a better rapport may be struck with this new generation of American leaders.

By 1986, our protracted armed resistance against the successive dictatorships in Uganda was crowned with victory, and we assumed political power.

Sometime in the late 1980s, I got a message from Maureen. The message said that she was going attend some celebrations in neighboring Uganda, Would the Mr. Museveni mind if we came over there so that she could meet him, inquired Maureen through the U.S. ambassador in (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I readily agreed.

In the celebrations, I was seated next to Maureen along with my wife Janet. There were processions of marches. Among the people marching were soldiers, school children, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Unfortunately, however, the school children had no shoes; they were barefooted. I remarked on this. Maureen immediately grabbed my comment. Later, several people told me that she relayed that casual remark of mine to them.

Soon after she visited Uganda with the big U.S. delegation, she immediately immersed herself in several humanitarian issues in Uganda, including adopting a Ugandan orphaned child.

My vague happiness at the phenomenon of a new generation of Americans was indeed vindicated. The rapport between them and us was instantaneous. Indeed, the relationship between white and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of a new Africa and the U.S. completed changed.

The relationship between Uganda and the U.S., for instance, has been excellent. This is due to the work of colleagues like the late Maureen, Vivian Darey (ph), Susan Rice (ph), President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, as well as Americans from the older generation like Dr. Roskins (ph), Doug Ko (ph), Congressman Rangell and Congressman Tony Hall, to mention only a few.

Signs are, that the relationship between Uganda and the United States will be further developed under President Bush. Secretary Colin Powell has already visited us, as has Rosa Whitaker (ph) and other officials of the new administration.

Therefore, without any doubt, Maureen was a great builder among the different peoples. I bear witness to this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of hers. She was also a warm-hearted person. Again, my wife and myself bear witness to this, because we were there when she took in a parentless child from Uganda.

My wife and myself will always remember her with fond memories. It is a shame that she left us so early in her life. When will medical science tame the beast known as cancer? This is everybody's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). My family and I will pray that God strengthens her husband and their child in this difficult time of grief and loss. May God rest her soul in eternal peace.


SIMON: Our next speaker, her career spans over 30 years in the non-for-profit business in government sectors. She served most recently as director of the National Museum of Women in Arts. I think most importantly she is a wonderful friend of Maureen and Dennis and Rita -- Nancy Risque Rohrbach.

NANCY RISQUE ROHRBACH, MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS: I, too had the great pleasure and fortune of working and playing with Maureen and Dennis over last 18 years, and welcoming Rita into the family and celebrating her arrival.

Maureen was my champion in the White House. She was my friend and my counselor all of the years, all of these past years, and I was head chef at camp Mermie, where we laughed all our vacations away. Maureen was friend and she allowed herself to be befriended and I think the point -- the thing that about Maureen that sticks out most in my mind is that she was a giver. And in this I think she has no peers. She gave with discretion, happily and demonstrably to people in all walks of life.

Her gifts were borne of love and loyalty rooted in her own unique experiences and her keen skill of observation. She lived largely and passionately embracing as many of us as she could. (AUDIO GAP) If you complimented it, or the earrings off her ears, and she gave us more than once, pieces of her mind.

Maureen gave us courage and confidence when we had little. Maureen mentored and nurtured when others couldn't or wouldn't. Maureen opened doors for us and she generated ideas for us. She shared with the girls all of the latest and best beauty potions and the Nolan-Miller (ph) fantastics. And she also made sure we were adequately prepared for all of our job interviews. She gave many of us the gift of creativity, teaching us how to do the fine needle work at which she excelled.

Dennis and Rita, I know that if Richard and I and your many friends can give you but a fraction of the love she gave us, that you will be well loved and cared for. And we will honor her and return the love forever that she has given us. Thank you.

SIMON: Our next speaker has a bio that would keep us here all day, but she comes us as governor you New Jersey where she worked very, very diligently making the environment -- making our world a better place in New Jersey especially. She was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on January the 31, 2001, so we look for great things to happen. And it gives me great pleasure to introduce the honorable Christie Whitman.

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, DIRECTOR, EPA: Dennis and Rita, I have been asked to convey to you and all of Maureen's family and friends here the deepest sympathy of President and Mrs. Bush and all of my colleagues in the current administration.

All of us who knew Maureen loved her. And I must say, America is a poorer and a duller place today because of her passing. You know, Maureen was truly an American original. She was an outspoken, bold, energetic and unambiguous woman. With Maureen, you always knew where you stood, even if you didn't agree. She never pulled punches. She may have broken the mold, but she broke the mold and new ground for women throughout politics.

Maureen was a woman who knew the meaning of independence. She never blindly fell in step behind any political figure, not even the president of the United States, starting there and on down. And what a magnificent tribute, magnificent tribute, that I believe it was to the relationship she had with her father that her independent streak never threatened the love and the respect that they shared.

That love was so much in evidence in 1980. I remember watching Maureen through the summer and fall. And from where I sat, I don't think anyone ever enjoyed a campaign more than she did that campaign. She approached every event with an infectious energy and an endless enthusiasm that lit up a room. If one could harness the energy of a Maureen Reagan, I can assure you California would never have another brownout.


Maureen was truly a pioneer for women of our generation. She set new standards on how women could and should be involved in the political arena. She loved politics, truly loved it, and it showed. Maureen believed in women with every fiber of her being. She knew that women have an important and a unique contribution to make to the American political scene, and she was impatient for the day when women could take full possession of their rightful place in American politics.

But for Maureen, that impatience did not mean sitting on the sidelines. It meant jumping in full-force. At the Republican National Committee, she opened doors through which capable and committed women are still walking. She was inspiration to many of the women who have followed in her path, a path that she helped blaze. I know because I am one of them.

Of course, while Maureen was an idealist in her pursuit of a larger role for women in politics, she had no illusions about what that meant. She didn't think women would always do better than men -- most of the time but not always, she fully admitted that. But she knew that we should always have that opportunity. In fact, I think one of the best things that I liked about her was when she said, "I will feel that equality has truly arrived when we can elect to office women who are as unqualified as some of the men who are already there."


If Maureen ever harbored a single shred of self-doubt about who or what she was or what she was doing, she never showed it. Her self- confidence, her refusal to be anyone other than who she was, was always worthy of emulation. Of course, driving all this effort and all this commitment was a woman with a real heart, a heart big enough to dream, bold enough to dare and warm enough to care. She loved her family. She cherished her friends. She treasured her country. And she inspired so many women to do the same, not from the sidelines but right in the thick of things.

In recent years, Maureen concentrated the luminous intensity of her convictions in supporting the efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer's. She was, as you have heard, enormously important to that effort and an enormously effective spokesperson.

And even more recently, she faced her own battle with a disease that finally took her from us with the same strength, the same spirit that animated her entire life, wanting others to benefit from what she was confronting, to understand the dangers that we all can face. Maureen always enjoyed the warmth of the sun. She never retreated to the coolness of the shade.

Now, Maureen's life journey has come to a close, but her spirit lives on. It lives on when those of us who knew her unleash our own energy in the service of things about which we care and in which we passionately believe. It lives on when those of us who respected her live our lives boldly with verve and with joy. And it lives on when those of us who were inspired by her are true to ourselves while being true to others.

Maureen Reagan was truly an American original, and we will all truly miss her.

SIMON: I began by telling you that Maureen was very Irish and I think I see Maureen as Irish because of her tenacity and always fighting, a tremendous fighter -- she fought for what she believed in, as you have heard of all of these wonderful people tell us.

You know she championed many causes. It is without any doubt or any wonder or no surprise to any of us that one wonderful great friends would be the honorable John McCain, another great fighter.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I am familiar enough with loss to resist the conceit that words might assuage the grief of the bereaved. The anguish of losing someone so dearly loved can be little affected by even the tenderest attempts at consoling. In God's good time, not mine, your hearts will mend, and the place in your hearts that you have made for sorrow today will be claimed by the happy memories you made when Maureen shared your lives. I only propose to pay brief tribute to a life well-lived, in gratitude for Maureen's friendship, and to spend a few moments contemplating the good fortune of having known her.

What a brief moment a life is, any life. My friend Maureen's life was briefer than she and those who loved her wished that it had been. But she made it count. With a passion and embrace of her blessings and obligations she made her life amount to more than the sum of its days. That is the great hope of human beings and proper object of our striving to fill our days with love and joy and growth and commitment -- to make of our lives monument to living, a testament to our capacity for doing good, and leave the world that once made us small space for us a larger, better place.

To many who knew of Maureen but did not know her personally, she is remembered as the daughter of a great man. That she was. But she made her own luminous life bright enough to shine out from the large shadow cast by the father she loved and was loved by, whose integrity she believed in and whose cause she embraced.

She shared with him many of the virtues that won him the lasting affection and admiration of his countrymen. Like him, she was an idealist, a believer in the self-evident truths of human existence and the country that was created to defend them. She shared his optimism, his kindness, his faith, his righteousness and the humility that recognizes our indebtedness to God for the providential circumstances of our birthplace but obliges our faithful service to a cause greater than our self-interest: to share with all we can reach the blessings of this most blessed country.

The last time I spoke to Maureen a few weeks ago, both of us aware of her prognosis, I asked her how she was getting along and she dismissed inquiry with a perfunctory "OK." She then turned to the business that was currently occupying my time and asked with an urgency that surprised me, "Is campaign finance reform going to pass?"

Now, those of you who might worry that I intend these remarks to advance that effort, don't. I'm not so obsessed with the my causes and their ups and downs that I would abuse Maureen's and her family's friendship and neglect my duty today. I mentioned the exchange only to illustrate how generous a person she was.

She was interested in and concerned about her friends and their causes. Whether she shared my views on the subject or not, she knew how important it was to me. And despite the lateness of the hour, she spent a few minutes making sure that a friend knew that her thoughts were still with him. That is an extraordinary, selfless act, but Maureen was an extraordinarily selfless person.

Politics mattered to her, of course, even in a time when the gravity of her own situation could have made the current preoccupations of politicians seem trivial in comparison. She had thrilled in the course of her father's career, offering enthusiastic understanding and important support as he took his central place in the history of the 20th century.

But her support was not simply an expression of filial duty or offered in consideration of privileges his office could have conferred on her. She knew, as did her father the president, that happiness -- real happiness -- is not the product of privileges, even the privilege of possessing a front-row seat at history's pageant. She knew that serving a cause larger than self, that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone, is the best pursuit of happiness -- the only pursuit that assures its attainment.

And with her father, Maureen made her country and the blessings of freedom that represents her cause. And by so doing, I am sure she knew a happiness far more sublime than pleasure. That, my friends, is what Maureen believed politics and public service was supposed to be about, not the small ambitions of individuals who confuse their own advancement with great nation's progress, but the work of good citizens to build a good society where all people share in the promise of freedom.

She was a credit to her country, which is a high distinction in her family, a high distinction indeed. Maureen had many good causes, and she gave good service to them all. That is a testament to her generous heart, to her great capacity for love.

She possessed much of her father's extraordinary ability to communicate her beliefs and abiding passions. And she was, in President Reagan's own words, fearless, energetic and surprising.

She used her abundant energy and courage and her gift for communication to improve the lives of others and to keep America true to our ideals.

In the later years of her life, she gave her heart, with all the enthusiasm and verve that were her most obvious attributes, to fighting diseases that had affected her and millions of others. She fought for resources and the public understanding necessary to fight the disease, melanoma, that claimed her life.

I have suffered from that disease, and like the millions of others afflicted by cancer, I'm indebted to Maureen for her work in helping to find its cure and for showing us how to fight its ravages with great dignity.

Typical of her selflessness was her devotion to finding a cure for the disease that robbed her father of his rich memories. She helped raise millions of dollars to combat Alzheimer's and devoted countless hours to raising public awareness of the disease and encouraging early medical invention to improve the lives of those who suffer from it.

As has been commented upon by many people in the days since Maureen died, in the last years of her life she often put her obligations to the Alzheimer's Association and to her father before her own care.

As one of her friends recalled, she told me that her goal was before she died that there would be a cure for Alzheimer's. She put other people's causes before hers.

She was combative, her father's biographer Lou Cannon, said of her, but she was the kind of person who was willing to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work. I tend to like combative people, which probably surprises few, and I very much liked Maureen.

I think she was combative and hardworking because her causes were personal to her, not abstract. That is characteristic of people who throw themselves so completely into their good works. She missed her father, so she made Alzheimer's her enemy and fought like hell to cure it.

But it also brought out her gentility. She learned to kind of slide into a room quietly to avoid starting her father. No easy feat for Maureen, whose Secret Service nickname was "Radiant" and whose vitality seemed almost a force of nature. But she treasured his company, even if he could not recognize her, and exalted in the sound of his laughter, all the more so because it had become a less frequent occurrence.

Of all her good works, the cause closest to Maureen's heart, the cause that she served the best, was her family. She was a loving daughter and sister. She was a wonderful wife to the husband she loved and a wonderful mother to the beautiful young girl they raised together. The blessings of a daughter came to her later in life than for others, but it was the blessing she cherished above all the blessings that proceeded her and all the blessings that followed.

Dennis, though you have lost your life's companion and bear a grief that will take time to subside, you have with you still the loveliest gifts of your marriage, Rita. In her life, as you watch her grow, you will always find the traces of her mother, traces that will spark the happy memories of your life with Maureen that will in time replace your grief.

Rita, you were blessed to have a loving mother who cared deeply that you would grow up safe and happy. Although your time together was too brief, it made up in love for what it lacked in time, for your mother's love is evident in your grace, in what a lovely young lady have you become.

To all of you who loved Maureen and were loved by her -- her mother Jane, her brothers Michael and Ron, her sister Patti, her stepmother Nancy, and Dennis and Rita -- she will never be so far from you that you cannot feel her love, remember her radiance, feel the warmth of her laugher. Such memories will lift your hearts, ease your longing, makes your lives richer and happier. These are her parting gifts to you, and you don't need me to tell you what a treasure they are.

As our faith informs us, you will see her again when our loving God reunites us all with the loved ones who have preceded us. Take care of each other until then, as Maureen would have taken care of you. And remember, she is with you always, in your hearts, in your family's love and in the sound of her father's laughter. KELLEY: The number of speakers including there Senator John McCain, who has the same type of cancer Maureen Reagan passed away from, malignant melanoma, and they were involved certainly connected through politics and adopting children and he saying her Secret Service nickname was "Radiant" and that gives you an idea of some of the people we have heard from: actors politicians and activists who talked about her -- heart, her energy, how well liked she was, her caring for people, her love of politics and public service and that she really lived her life.

One speaker talking about getting involved in Alzheimer's and that she blew in like a blast of fresh air. Our Frank Buckley is outside the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento where the service is taking place. That cathedral, incidentally, holds 1,100 seats, and as you can see, most of them filled -- Frank.

BUCKLEY: Donna, about 1,000 we are told that filled the cathedral and really in the moving tributes we heard this morning you really get a sense of the person behind the public face that we all knew over the years in her various causes that she was involved in and as the face of the first daughter of the former president Ronald Reagan, we heard her described as someone with an infectious smile and a twinkle in her eye, someone who gave great hugs, a dedicated mother and wife.

Someone who was dedicated to the eradication of Alzheimer's disease. And Christie Whitman describing her as pioneer for the women of her generation. John McCain calling her a credit to her country, really a sense of the person that maybe many people didn't know that was behind that public face -- Donna.

KELLEY: And Reverend Father Simon Thomey (ph) saying that she just oozed love and talking about the loss and the life certainly and going on to talk about they would celebrate Maureen's new life.

So the service continues now. We will tell you now from the memorial service that was public for this service for Maureen Elizabeth Reagan, they will go into a transition for mass for her. And earlier in this service we want to show you -- her mother Jane Wyman placed a cross on the Casket and her stepmother, Nancy Reagan, placed the book of Gospel.


HERMAN: As you shared in Jesus' suffering, especially lately, now share in his victory over death.

KELLEY: And there you see, it was difficult to get a picture of Nancy Reagan. She went ahead and she did place the Book of the Gospels on the casket and that was Jane Wyman walking back after she had placed the cross on the casket of Maureen Reagan. She is the eldest daughter, of course, of former president Ronald Reagan. The former president not able to attend the service today because of his Alzheimer's and so we go on, as they transition to the mass in this service for Maureen Reagan, 60 years old, passing away of malignant melanoma that had spread to her brain. She fought cancer for five years, and a well attended memorial service and funeral mass there for Maureen Reagan. We are going to take a break and we will come back with "PINNACLE" for you here on CNN.




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