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Marion Barry to Be Memorialized With Citywide Procession, Public Viewing

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The District of Columbia plans to bid farewell to its "mayor for life" over the course of three days, with a procession through all eight wards of the city and a massive celebration at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  

Tens of thousands are expected to attend the Dec. 6 viewing and memorial service for Marion Barry, the former four-term mayor and Ward 8 councilmember who died Sunday at age 78. President Barack Obama's name may even appear on the guest list, organizers suggested Wednesday.  

Mayor Vincent Gray declared Barry the most iconic figure in the history of the District of Columbia, then quipped, "and remember, that includes the federal government also." He recalled Barry's pride in 2008, when he saw Obama receive the Democratic nomination in Denver. "He saw everything that he had stood for, and everything he had tried to do embodied in this African-American man being nominated to be the president of the United States," Gray said.  

Barry will lie in repose in the John A. Wilson Building for 24 hours, beginning at 9 a.m. on Dec. 4. The last person bestowed with that honor was Barry's ex-wife, Effi Barry, in 2007. A brief service will honor his contributions as an important civic leader in the decades after Home Rule, who served 16 years as mayor and 16 years on the D.C. Council.  

"His passing is hard on the institution," D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Wednesday.  District employees will be allowed up to two hours of administrative leave on Thursday to visit the closed casket.  

Barry's body will be transported through the city on Dec. 5, along a route yet to be determined, to one of the churches he regularly attended. The Temple of Praise on Southern Avenue Southeast will host a musical and video tribute from 3 to 6 p.m., followed by a community memorial service from 6 to 9 p.m.  

The convention center viewing begins at 8 a.m. on Dec. 6, with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. A private burial will follow.  

Related: Marion Barry, 4-Term Mayor and D.C. Councilmember, Dies at 78 Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.