“To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee, who died last week aged eighty-nine, was laid to rest in a discrete ceremony in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, February 20th. The private funeral service at First United Methodist Church was attended by a little over 30 close friends and family members. A silver hearse took the casket containing the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist’s remains to the adjacent cemetery where her parents AC Lee and Frances Finch Lee, and her sister, Alice Lee, are all buried, reported The Guardian. Red and white roses adorned the Lee family headstone.
The Daily Mail reported that Lee’s close friend, history professor Wayne Flint, gave an eulogy during the service that he’d originally written in honor of Lee receiving the Birmingham Pledge Foundation Award for racial justice in 2006. Mr Flynt said that Lee had so liked the speech, entitled ‘Atticus inside ourselves,’ that she’d requested that he give it as her eulogy. He said that Lee had told him to give exactly the same speech. “Not one thing more, and not one thing less,” and insisted that he did not change the text in any way, joking that he was afraid Lee would chastise him from heaven if he did:
If I deviated one degree, I would hear this great booming voice from heaven, and it wouldn’t be God.
Lee’s most famous novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” was set in a fictional Alabama town that was based on Monroeville. The southern town, that was also home to Lee’s childhood friend Truman Capote, was appropriately quiet on the day of the funeral. Two uniformed police officers were seen on duty outside the church during the ‘pomp-free’ service and mockingbirds sang nearby the courthouse that featured so centrally in Lee’s prize-winning work.
Cathy Randall, a friend of Lee’s for some 30 years, said that the author was an Alabama treasure. “We were all blessed by her life and her work as we are diminished by her passing.”