Final preparations ahead of Schoendienst funeral

ST. LOUIS - Final preparations were underway Thursday night for the funeral of Red Schoendienst. The Cardinals favorite died last week. On Friday morning, people will celebrate Red’s life in word, song, and prayer.

As tourists took pictures of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis outside, preparations were taking place inside. St. Louisan Jeanne Keirle works as a tour guide for people visiting our city. She said at the age of nine, she attended Red Schoendienst’s wedding. She said Red’s father and her dad were friends. She plans to be in attendance at his funeral mass.

“I would like to pay my respect from my family to his,” she said. “I think he was a wonderful person. He did so many good things and it’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ for all he’s given the community.”

A satellite television truck was in place and ready to beam the funeral to broadcast networks across the country.

“It’s a privilege to be able to be the location for a funeral such as this,” said Tom Fasl, the business manager for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Fasl said 20 people have been working hard getting ready. They are used to big events like this. Recently, Fire Chief Jim Silvernail was buried from the cathedral and so was Red Schoendienst’s buddy, Stan Musial. The cathedral is used for the funerals of notable people because of its location and size. The building can easily hold 1,200 folks.

“Many of the parishes don’t have the size to handle a large group people that come together to offer their condolences to the deceased,” Fasl said.

Archbishop Robert Carlson will celebrate the mass. Schoendienst’s family members are involved in much of the liturgy. The funeral is open to the public. People who live nearby will be watching too, like Tom Fox.

“I live across the street in a condo and I’ll take a look out the window and just watch the goings-on,” Fox said.

Words of remembrance will be given by Cardinal Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr., Jeff Idelson, the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, broadcaster and former Cardinal Mike Shannon and Red’s daughter, Colleen Schoendienst, who sang the national anthem at the first game of the season.