Guiding Joe Home—in Silence

January 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm 2 comments

College Avenue as the funeral procession made its way through the crowd, as seen by our art director, Carole Otypka.


So quiet. So sad. So respectful.

Usually when College Avenue is packed with thousands of people who are standing in the middle of the street with cell phones, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Not today.

Usually when people have to wait outside, in the cold, for well over an hour, tempers fray. Not today.

Like so many other Penn State fans, alumni, students, and employees, we the magazine staff went outside to pay our respects as Joe Paterno’s funeral procession wound through campus. We stood at the closest spot to our office, at Fraser Street and College Avenue, and waited so long that our fingers and toes froze. None of us would have missed it.

Graphic designer Jessie Knuth snapped this photo of the hearse.

The procession arrived a little before 5. First the hearse, carrying Joe’s coffin. Then the blue bus … with Sue Paterno sitting in the first seat, Joe’s seat for 46 years, one that this year’s team left empty after their coach was fired. His 17 grandchildren waved at the crowd. A few other cars and buses followed.

It was totally silent.

I was following along on Twitter—it’s worth checking out the hashtag #guidejoehome for real-time observations and emotions—so I knew that when the procession reached us, it would get quiet. It had everywhere else. But that didn’t dull the impact … wow.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dodie Stahl Fogle  |  January 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Mr. Paterno’s procession threw me back into 8th Grade English class when JFK’s death was announced. I graduated from SCH in 68 and grew up in Lemont. What a loss, such a loss. I pray for Sue and her beautiful family.

  • 2. dwhirsch  |  January 26, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I couldn’t be there, but I watched it on WJAC-TV’s simulcast. It was amazing, even extra-quiet in the house as I watched. I was thrilled that the TV station respected the private-burial request and stopped broadcasting after it passed. The announcers talked a bit too much when the procession started–except at Beaver Stadium–so I can only imagine what you felt, experienced.

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