Funeral celebrates life of Lou Rawls
January 13, 2006 (LOS ANGELES) (WLS) -- It was billed as the funeral for Lou Rawls, but the service in Los Angeles Friday turned into a musical celebration for the man with the rich, velvet voice. Lou Rawls was laid to rest, surrounded by songs from Stevie Wonder and Joan Baez, and words from friends, including some from his hometown of Chicago.
Joan Baez sang "Amazing Grace." The song could describe the way Lou Rawls handled the last year of his life, a diagnosis of lung cancer followed by the discovery of brain cancer.
From folk singer Joan Baez to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, people from many walks of life came to remember Lou Rawls. Photographs from Rawls' 72 years of life showed him with the famous, entertainers and politicians, and the unknown.
As hundreds filled the cavernous chapel of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, a closed casket was covered with lavender flowers, a picture nearby. Stevie Wonder sang. So did Della Reese. But always, the unmistakable voice of Lou Rawls seemed nearby.
The weekend after Lou Rawls died on January 6, the pre-taped "An Evening of Stars" aired, including Lou, as he had done for years, raising millions of dollars in scholarships for the United Negro College Fund.
At his service Friday, a message of thanks from all the young African-Americans who had a college education because of his work.
Also remembered Friday, that Rawls often came back to Chicago, his hometown.
"An Evening of Stars" has raised more than $200 milllion over the years for the United Negro College Fund.
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