Sargent Shriver Remembered Fondly at Funeral

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Family, friends and other mourners gathered today for the funeral of former Democratic vice presidential candidate and Peace Corps founder Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., who died Tuesday.

Former President Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama, U2 front man Bono and singer Wyclef Jean, along with members of the Kennedy and Shriver families were among those in attendance at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, the Shriver family's church, in Potomac, Md.

During the ceremony Shriver's 19 grandchildren read passages recalling their grandfather's love of philanthropy, warm hugs and baseball.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington spoke directly to Shriver's grandchildren during the service, advising them to live their lives with the same courage and fortitude that their grandfather and late grandmother Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, brought to their lives and endeavors.

"Ask your parents to tell you stories. Read what your grandfather has written. When you think of him, rejoice in the heritage he has given you," Wuerl said.

Jean played piano and sang "All the Ends of the Earth" as guests including the Shriver family clapped along, while later, singer and actress Vanessa Williams sang the Andrae Crouch classic "Soon and Very Soon."

Shriver, who died at 95, had long suffered from Alzheimer's disease, a cause that his daughter, former California first lady Maria Shriver, championed in recent years.

Maria Shriver said her family took comfort in "knowing that Daddy is in heaven with God and with Mummy," and went on to describe his whimsy, while her brother Mark Shriver described him as an old-fashioned Irish storyteller who "never let the facts get in the way of a good story."

Tim Shriver, who is the current chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics, said his father never coddled the children but "coached us to pursue those big, big ideas."

He went on to describe his father as a man who saw the world as "infused with God's spirit. Awe breaking through at each moment."

In addition to his work in politics, Shriver, who was descended from a prominent Maryland family was a businessman and lawyer.

Serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations in the 1960s, Shriver ran the War on Poverty and either founded or was an early advocate of groups like Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, Community Action, Legal Services, Upward Bound, Foster Grandparents and the Special Olympics.

Speaking of Shriver's death on Tuesday, President Obama described him as "one of the brightest lights of the greatest generation."

"Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Sarge came to embody the idea of public service," Obama said in a statement. "His loss will be felt in all of the communities around the world that have been touched by Peace Corps volunteers over the past half century and all of the lives that have been made better by his efforts to address inequality and injustice here at home."

Shriver was to be buried later today in the same cemetery as his late wife Eunice, who died in 2009 at age 88, in Hyannis, Mass.