The Latest: Harper Lee laid to rest at private funeral

AP News
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Posted: Feb 20, 2016 4:03 PM
The Latest: Harper Lee laid to rest at private funeral

MONROEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the death of "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee (all times local):

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3 p.m.

The funeral for "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee, who died Friday at age 89, was as private as her life. A few dozen family members gathered Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Monroeville, Alabama to hear a eulogy by her longtime friend and history professor, Wayne Flint.

The eulogy, read by Flynt, was the speech that he wrote in 2006 as a tribute when Lee won the Birmingham Pledge Foundation Award for racial justice.

Flynt said Lee liked the speech so much that she wanted him to give it as her eulogy.

"I want you to say exactly that," Flynt quoted Lee as saying at the time. "Not one thing more, and not one thing less."

"If I deviated one degree, I would hear this great booming voice from heaven, and it wouldn't be God," Flynt said in an earlier interview.

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2:20 p.m.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Harper Lee is being quietly laid to rest in a private funeral in her Alabama hometown of Monroeville, the inspiration for southern town depicted in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

About three dozen family members and close friends attended a private Saturday afternoon service at First United Methodist Church in Monroeville.

Her casket was taken by silver hearse to the adjacent cemetery where her father, A.C. Lee and sister, Alice Lee, are buried.

Two uniformed Monroeville police officers stood outside the church during the private service.

Wayne Flynt, a longtime friend of Lee, said he delivered a eulogy that Lee specifically requested years ago. It was a 2006 speech he gave, entitled, "Atticus inside ourselves."

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The southern Alabama town of Monroeville seems destined to always be linked to Nelle Harper Lee.

Lee, who died Friday at age 89, drew inspiration from her hometown for the fictionalized Maycomb, the setting in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." Tributes to the book dot the town.

Ann Mote, owner of the Ol' Curiosities & Book Shoppe in Monroeville, said she thinks the town will always be linked to Lee. Lee's family said in a statement that she will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.