WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) — Monkees singer Davy Jones was remembered in a small private Florida funeral as a laid-back daydreamer who brought fans into a world blissfully free of worries.
The service was held behind locked doors Wednesday at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Indiantown, close to Jones' home and next to Hope Rural School, which Jones had supported.
The Rev. Frank O'Loughlin, who presided over the service, said several of Jones' own songs were played, including "I'll Love You Forever" and "Written in My Heart." In his own remarks to mourners, the priest compared the singer to the diminutive hero of "Lord of the Rings," saying the author J.R.R. Tolkien portrayed a world not unlike the one Jones offered fans.
"He wrote about a quiet, gentle, contented people," O'Loughlin said in his sermon, a copy of which he shared with The Associated Press. "A people for whom life was bright, neighbors friends, daydream believers with an absolute absence of burden who took themselves lightly — lighter than air. Wasn't that what David conveyed to the world, a blissful lightness of being?"
O'Loughlin said Jones' widow, Jessica Pacheco, brought her husband's cremains to the church and her brother Joseph Pacheco, the singer's manager, gave a eulogy. Besides family, the man who first trained Jones to ride racehorses was in attendance, as were members of his current band, who wrote prayers they read at the service.
The three surviving members of The Monkees did not attend, saying they didn't want to attract unwanted attention.
"I think your David captivated us because he was a new universal hero — not a typical Odysseus or Beowulf — but a very Christian hero, strength of character rather than strength of arms," O'Loughlin said, "conducting himself with humility and caring for others."
Jones rocketed to the top of the 1960s music charts along with his bandmates in The Monkees, captivating audiences with hits including "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer." He died of a heart attack Feb. 29.
A spokeswoman for Jones, Helen Kensick, said Thursday that another memorial will take place next week in the singer's hometown of Manchester, England. It will also be private and no further details were announced.
Discussions are under way for a public service in either New York or Los Angeles.
Jones' four daughters — Talia Jones, Sarah McFadden, Jessica Cramer and Annabel Jones — released a joint statement Thursday thanking fans for the response to their father's death.
"Our family has been greatly comforted by the support and love of everyone who has reached out to us," they said. "Knowing that so many people around the world were so affected by our dad's life and music makes us feel connected to you all."