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Thousands Mourn Cardinal Edward Egan at St. Patrick's Funeral Mass

By Trevor Kapp | March 10, 2015 5:39pm
 Cardinal Edward Egan was mourned by thousands at his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral Tuesday.
Cardinal Edward Egan was mourned by thousands at his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral Tuesday.
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Getty Images/Spencer Platt

MIDTOWN — As a personal chef, Ben Umayam cooked for the late Cardinal Edward Egan several times and always relished an opportunity to make his favorite wild mushroom risotto.

Umayam, 59, was one of thousands of mourners who packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Tuesday to pay his respects to Egan, who died last Thursday of a heart attack at 82.

“Up front, he looked very stoic, but he was an amazing, very personable guy,” Umayam said. “He could’ve had any chef cook his meal, but he had me do it. He was the most wonderful, outgoing, loving person.”

Egan served as archbishop of New York from 2000-2009, before retiring.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he would always remember Egan’s healing powers following the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I came right from the 9/11 Museum here, so it reminded me of all the things the Cardinal did for us after Sept. 11, all the masses he presided over, all the masses he attended that he didn’t preside over and all the families he went to visit that nobody will ever know about,” Giuliani said.

Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was a steady figure during turbulent times for the church.

“Like so many other institutions, the church has changed, attendance is down. That is a problem and issue for the church. And he addressed it and I think addressed it well,” Kelly said.

Kelly added that Egan was multitalented, and was a terrific piano player with a great sense of humor.

The former police commissioner said Egan’s ability to make tough choice is what distinguished him.

“He meant a lot to New York,” he said. “He was a real force when he was the officiating cardinal. He had some difficult decisions to make, and he did it with class.”