PROVO — The matriarch of a musical family that became an internationally known entertainment empire was laid to rest in Provo Saturday.
Olive Osmond, 79, suffered a stroke more than two years ago and died last week on Mother's Day in Provo. She was eulogized through family testimony, musical harmony and personal tribute during services that featured tight security following rumors that speculators were offering thousands of dollars for a photo of the family with their deceased mother.
Family spokesman Ron Clark said about 20 security personnel watched over Provo's Oak Hills Stake Center, a meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 1,200 people attended the services and burial at East Lawn Memorial Gardens in Provo, he said.
Osmond was the wife of George V. Osmond and the mother of nine children, including singers Donny, Marie, Jimmy, Jay, Merrill, Wayne and Alan.
She co-founded The Children's Miracle Network which has raised $2.5 billion since 1983 toward providing care for more than 17 million seriously ill children in hospitals across the nation.
Clark said the inspiration for the foundation came from Olive Osmond's tireless work to find help for her two oldest sons, Virl and Tom, who were both born with hearing difficulties. The services Saturday were full of gentle humor and sweet music as the grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang a medley of songs, as did Olive Osmond's children.
Wayne Osmond said he always knew he was his mother's favorite child, but he supposed "these other people I call my siblings may feel like that too."
Jay Osmond said his mother — known as "Mother Osmond" to her fans — loved people and made them feel good just be being around her. Jimmy Osmond said his mother never told him what to do but instead, showed him by example how to live.
Merrill Osmond said his mother spread the gospel of the LDS Church with every opportunity — even giving a copy of "The Book of Mormon" to the Queen of England and to Elvis Presley.
Merrill Osmond said his mother told him one of her first tasks in Heaven would be to look up Presley and see how he is doing. Olive Osmond and Elvis had shared many telephone conversations during Presley's career. "I just imagine all the shaking going on (when they get together)," he said.
Donny Osmond said his mother was deservedly loved by her family and by the world. "She now has the physical peace we couldn't give her, the peace that is eternal," Osmond said. "We're very, very sad that our mother is gone but she's really just changed addresses again."
Marie Osmond said her mother always knew when to be a sister and a friend as well as a mother. "It was important to her that I stay grounded so when I'd come home after a 12-hour work day, she'd say, 'OK, Marie, let's bake some bread!' " Her mother taught Marie to sew, to bake and to preserve fruit and vegetables. She, in turn, taught her mother to wear makeup.
Some of George and Olive Osmond's nine children achieved fame in the 1960s and 1970s, when they produced 34 gold and platinum records, and they have continued to record music and make television appearances.
In 1976, Donny and Marie Osmond hosted the television program "The Donny and Marie Show," which their older brothers helped produce.
Donny Osmond hosts the game show "Pyramid." Marie Osmond has a daily five-hour syndicated radio show that originates from the same Provo neighborhood where the family lived.
Each child lauded their mother's strong belief in Jesus Christ and her devotion to gospel teachings. Each promised to live for the chance to be with her again in the afterlife.
President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asked the audience to stand in silent applause of Olive Osmond. He then admonished the family to continue to demonstrate love and devotion for their mother by staying united.
"Olive came from God and found her home in mortality. It's spelled family," President Monson said.
Contributing: Associated Press