Fans of Chuck Berry started to line up before sunrise for the chance to say goodbye to the rock and roll icon. Berry's funeral service took place Sunday afternoon at The Pageant.
Ray King said he was first in line, arriving at The Pageant at 4:00 a.m.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I couldn’t miss out on this chance to be part of something this big,” King said. “He was such a huge influence in music.”
The Berry family allowed a public viewing. In the morning, fans had the chance to see Chuck Berry in his open casket with his music playing in the background.
“I think it was a real treat for St. Louis, especially since he’s from St. Louis," said fan Tyra Kennedy-Mitchell. "We don’t get a lot of big icons coming through here. I thought it was really commendable on the family’s behalf to invite everyone out. I feel like Chuck Berry is an icon, I grew up with my dad listening to him.”
People who wanted to witness the service were able to do so. The first 300 people in line received tickets.
Fans said Berry’s music is truly classic, and they were grateful they could be here to say thank you for the memories and the music.
“I grew up with his music. He’s an inspiration to his generation, our generation and generations after us,” said Douglas Holt, a fan.
The Berry family released the following statement:
The Berry Family is very appreciative of the thousands of friends and fans that have shown their support during this difficult time. The family believes that Chuck would have encouraged individuals to provide either their time or a generous donation to the St. Louis organizations in his memory. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following charities.