PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From near and far, mourners are gathering at Penn State for the first day of viewing for Joe Paterno.
Current and former players, including Franco Harris, attended a private viewing before it was opened to the public.
A private funeral will be held Wednesday, and a public memorial is set for Thursday afternoon.
Two of Paterno’s five children appeared on “CBS This Morning” today ahead of the viewing and memorial services to talk about their father’s legacy.
“The focus on that really takes away what we are trying to do here the next couple of days. We are celebrating really a 61-year career at Penn State,” said Paterno’s son, Jay. “We are celebrating 85 years of a life lived at a very, very high level of integrity of loyalty to Penn State.”
As the sex abuse scandal swirled about them, the entire Paterno family celebrated his Joe’s 85th birthday last month.
“His birthday wish was that all of us would have what he had that night,” said Mary Kay Paterno-Hort, Paterno’s daughter. “Health, happiness, a great family, a loving family, and strong family and really the legacy of living your life the way you wanted to live it and doing things the right way.”
Jay knows the next couple days will be very difficult, but hopes it shows the world a celebrations of his father’s life.
“His sense of personal excellence is really what came through,” Jay said. “He believed success was something people outside of you put on you and defined you, but your personal excellence is really what you are all about. And that’s a lesson that I have heard from him, and our players have heard from him and Penn Staters have heard from him. They have tried to maintain that and he has.”
As for that legacy, Mary Kay says in the days leading up to his passing, it was very apparent in his children and grandchildren.
“He always taught us commitment, loyalty,” he said. “We were always very loyal to each other, and the way the 17 grandchildren handled watching this transpire, they were all, his values were clearly coming through in their behavior and how they handled themselves and the kinds of things they said to him as we were saying goodbye.”