Junior Seau's Family Gathers for Intimate Funeral

The family of former San Diego Charger Junior Seau gather to remember the former linebacker in an intimate ceremony

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "Make Happy"

    The phrase Luisa Seau would say to her sons on their way to the bus when they were just children was the overriding theme to the service remembering former San Diego Charger Junior Seau.

    More coverage: Raw Video: Casket Leaves Funeral, Special Section

    More than a week after Seau's suicide his family and friends gathered Friday at Oceanside's Calvary Chapel for a ceremony focusing on the 43-year-old as a father, husband, son, brother and friend.

    Junior Seau's Casket Leaves Funeral

    [DGO] Junior Seau's Casket Leaves Funeral
    Raw video of the casket carrying former San Diego Charger Junior Seau as it leaves the Calvary Chapel Church in Oceanside on Friday, May 11, 2012.

    First cousin Tia Satoafaiga told NBCSanDiego the service was filled with music – something Luisa shared with Junior throughout his life.

    One of the last video clips of Seau before his death shows the former linebacker strumming a ukelele and singing for his alma mater at USC.

    Seau died May 2 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest inside his oceanfront home on South Strand Boulevard.

    Thousands of fans have left cards, photos and jerseys outside Seau's home and the restaurant that bears his name in Mission Valley but the family requested the funeral and burial be an intimate event.

    Family members wore bright colors or white to symbolize the service as a celebration of life, as did Seau's older brother Savaii Seau. Many attendees wore buttons with Seau's image.

    Cousin Forouzandeh Hoda recalled one of the Samoan songs played in the service that, when translated, means have a happy trip to Heaven.

    “It’s sad but we’re rejoicing in the Lord and we know that in one day we will all see him again in Heaven,“ said Hoda.

    “He passed and of course everybody’s going to miss him,” said Henry Lindley, second cousin who played with Seau as a child. “He had a great impact on everybody, anybody he met.”

    “He was the pride of Oceanside. He was the pride of Samoa,” Lindley added.

    Among the mourners were former San Diego Chargers Marcellus Wiley along with  LaDainian Tomlinson and his wife LaTorsha and former Padre Trevor Hoffman.

    Inside the lobby, large screen televisions flashed photos of Seau with his children taken over the years.

    "It was actually a joyous occasion," said Cameron Mitchell works for the Boys and Girls Club. "It was a going home celebration more than a somber moment."

    Following the ceremony, the NFL great was buried at Eternal Hills Memorial Park Mortuary and Cemetery.

    Fans and members of the community are welcome to celebrate the happier times with a "Celebration of Life" ceremony planned at Qualcomm Stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

    Find out how you can see tonight's event here.

    Print a program for tonight's event.

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