[From New York Daily News]
Whitney's grave choice
By JOANNA MOLLOY
Whitney Houston got the last word in her feud with her dad - skipping out on her father's funeral yesterday.
Houston's spokeswoman confirmed the pop diva's absence, saying she chose to grieve privately.
But mourners who filled St. James AME Church in Newark to remember John Houston couldn't help but notice that his famous daughter was missing.
Father and daughter had been embroiled in a lawsuit since August, when John Houston sued Whitney for $100 million, arguing he had saved her career after she was charged with pot possession in Hawaii in January 2000. The charge was ultimately dropped.
The 39-year-old recording star - who admitted drug use in a nationally televised interview in December - and her husband, singer Bobby Brown, did attend the wake Thursday at the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, Houston spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer said.
"Whitney spent the majority of the day with her father yesterday, privately, in the viewing room of the funeral home," Seltzer said.
"She attended the wake ceremony later that night in the church. Today, she chose to grieve privately."
Seltzer said Houston was not simply trying to avoid the glaring lenses of paparazzi in front of the church.
"The truth is it was very difficult, very emotional and very powerful," Seltzer said.
In spite of the lawsuit, "Whitney saw him before he died, and they were never estranged," Seltzer said. "John and Whitney loved each other and always will."
John Houston, a World War II veteran, died Feb. 2 of cardiac arrest.
He was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, N.J., with full military honors.
Whitney's mother, singer Cissy Houston, was front and center at both the service and the burial, even though she and John Houston had been separated since 1980 and divorced since 1993.
Dionne Warwick, Cissy's cousin, attended the funeral. Aretha Franklin, a
longtime family friend, sent a recording of "Amazing Grace," along with words of
praise for what a "great father" the 82-year-old music manager had been.
NEWSFILE: 8 FEBRUARY 2003
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