HARLEM — Hundreds of journalists, elected officials, family and friends gathered Monday to bid farewell to award-winning journalist Michael Feeney.
Feeney, 32, died on Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., of complications from a staph infection in his kidneys.
At the Monday service, held at the First Corinthian Baptist Church on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., guests ranging from Rev. Al Sharpton and singer Kimberly Nichole to journalists David Ushery and Mara Schiavocampo shared memories of Feeney.
“He was a shining star,” said meteorologist Janice Huff, who attended the service. “The brightest star.”
Feeney's casket was adorned with flowers and ribbons, as well as journalism awards and plaques honoring the reporter, whose career included a stint covering Upper Manhattan for the New York Daily News.
A slideshow featured pictures of Feeney interviewing Drake, donating goods to New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy and accepting an award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2015.
A letter written by President Barack Obama and addressed to Feeney’s mother, Reba Willis, was read aloud at the service.
“Michael stood up for something,” Sharpton said. “He wasn’t someone with a job. He was someone that did a job.”
Sharpton, who noted that he was working with Feeney on a project for the National Action Network, added that Feeney lived and left a proud legacy for his family.
Feeney, who was recently freelancing for publications like TheGrio.com and The Record, was set to start as an entertainment reporter for CNN.com in Atlanta, the Daily News reported.
Friend and fellow reporter Deon J. Hampton credited Feeney with his own success as a journalist in New York City.
“Michael was one of those guys that came out of nowhere to help, and I'm truly going to miss him," Hampton said with tears in his eyes.
A second service for Feeney will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 4 p.m., at the Community Baptist Church, 224 First St., in Englewood, N.J.