STATE COLLEGE (KDKA) -Students are still showing up at the statue dedicated to Joe Paterno to pay their respects.
The legendary coach passed away Sunday at age 85.
“If he never came here, we wouldn’t be the type of program or type of institution we are now because he motivated the team,” one man said.
“He was a great man and he stood for things that were good and right and that he did great things for the university,” one woman said.
The public has expressed its grief in various ways from mementos left at the bronze statue to a candlelight vigil held Sunday night.
“I’ll be waiting in line for that length of time. That’s fine. This man came here, we’ll never see another one like him,” Dave Sage said. “That stadium over there is big, it would never fill the void that’s been created with Joe Paterno leaving us. We have to thank the good Lord that we had him for 85 years. I pray for him every night.”
All of the outpouring of support may pale in comparison to the public viewings at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. It was a place where Joe and Sue Paterno often worshipped.
“The Spiritual Center probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Paternos. Because the Eisenhower Chapel had been here since the 1950s and then the Paternos, who come to services here on campus, really wanted to see services extended to reach the maximum number of students,” Bob Smith said.
It’s a place that could see more than 100,000 mourners pass through in less than 24 hours.
“Considering how many you get at a football game, considering how many students there are here, alumni, the lives he’s touched, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a couple of hundred thousand people come through,” Smith said.
While the funeral itself will be a private service, a 10-hour public viewing will be held on campus tomorrow at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. Tuesday’s viewing will be held from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Another public viewing will be held at the same place from 8 a.m. until noon on Wednesday.
Penn State University will also hold a special memorial service in honor of the most successful coach in major college football history. The public service will be held on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center, which is located next to Beaver Stadium.
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