Elvis Presley´s Funeral

Elvis Presley´s Death

Elvis Presley´s Funeral Death


Elvis Presley´s Funeral on August 18, 1977

The private funeral an Thursday was plain and simple. Pallbearers were longtime friends Lamar Fike, George Klein and Joe Esposito, guitarist Charlie Hodge, cousins Billy and Gene Smith, Beach Bays road manager Jerry Schilling, personal physician Dr. George Nichopoulos and record producer Felton Jarvis. About 200 persons crowded into and out of Elvis' music room at Graceland at two p.m. to hear remarks by Rex Humbard, the TV evangelist from Akron, Ohio; comedian Jack Kahane, who had opened shows for Elvis; and the Reverend C.W. Bradley, pastor of Memphis' Wooddale Church of Christ. Bradley gave the main eulogy.

Then the caravan, led by a silver Cadillac followed by the white Cadillac hearse with Elvis' body and seventeen white Cadillac limousines, toiled its way past bystanders the two and a half miles to Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown.

A short ceremony followed in the white marble mausoleum where Elvis was entombed at 4:24 p.m. in a sixcrypt family chamber. Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, sat outside an a police motorcycle far a while. Elvis' friends said the Colonel was not letting anyone know how he felt. (There was open speculation that Colonel Parker had earlier canceled his contract with Elvis. Road manager Joe Esposito said that was ridiculous: "I called the Colonel about that. He laughed and said, 'Where do these stories start?' The Colonel's plans are the same today as if Elvis were still here. They had a written contract.")

Vernon Presley stayed with his son after everyone else left the mausoleum and emerged visibly shaken.

Family and friends returned to Graceland for a Southern supper. Vernon Presley decided to give all the flowers to fans, and at 8:25 a.m. Friday the gates to Forest Hill were opened. By 11:30 the flowers were gone.

Elvis' first producer, Sam Phillips of Sun Records fame, said he thought it was possible that Elvis died of a broken heart, since he could never find any true friends. Elvis' last producer, Felton Jarvis, said that maybe Elvis had a death wish and that it wasn't the fans who billed hint, it was the people around him. A young woman named Vicki said, "Hey, all you have to do is stand on any corner here in Whitehaven and you'll find people who've been to parties at his house. High-school girls got new cars from him. He hired a guy just to play racquet ball with him--that was his only job. Elvis always had someone carry his black hag with his 'credentials': that was all his police badges."

After the funeral, after it was all over, the crowds continued to grow outside Graceland. One caravan of six cars arrived late Thursday. Wanda Magyor, thirty-three, of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, jiggled a baby on her hip as she told of her love for Elvis. "We'll stay out here all night just to get into the cemetery. We drove all night to get here. I will get a flower from the cemetery."

One of her companions, Myrtle Smith said, "Thirty of us decided to come down here because there'll never be another one like him. He was the king of everyone and especially of our people. He was the king of the gypsies. He was ours."

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