Friends and family of the late Sherman Hemsley gave a very appropriate tribute to the actor at his funeral on Wednesday, November 21 in El Paso, Texas. During the service, they showed videos of Hemsley as George Jefferson, the role that he was best known for, on the hit TV sitcom "The Jeffersons".
An estimated 150 people attended the interment service at Cielo Vista Church in El Paso and mourners could not help laughing as they intently watched the clips of the TV actor playing the part of a feisty, bigoted owner of a chain of dry-cleaning businesses on the 80's sitcom.
"He helped us to laugh, gave us an opportunity to forget the troubles, the stresses of life," Sam Faraone, El Paso Police Department chaplain, said in an eulogy.
Meanwhile, Hemsley's self-proclaimed best friend and manager, Flora Enchinton Bernal, seemed relieved after the four months of court disputes that delayed the funeral and said, "The best way I can describe it is by how we released a dove. Just set him free, let him be. Let him explore the universe, be one with the universe."
Enchinton was earlier named in Hemsley's will as heir to his $50,000 estate, but the will's validity was challenged by Richard Thornton, a man who claimed to be Hemsley's half-brother. Thornton's failure to submit a DNA test on time favored the law to on Enchinton side and an El Paso judge earlier this month ruled the will valid.
Hemsley died of lung cancer on July 24 at age 74. He served in the Air Force before turning to acting and is thus, entitled to a military burial. He will be buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.