Following the death of Mary Travers from leukemia in 2009, her four-hour memorial in New York City featured celebrity speakers and a crowd of 2,000. Travers died at age 72. Her memorial, held on her 73rd birthday, celebrated her singing career, political activism and support of civil rights.
Travers was a member of the popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. She battled leukemia for several years before her death, receiving a successful bone marrow transplant in 2006. This operation allowed her to briefly return to performing before her condition worsened again. She died from complications with chemotherapy on Sept. 16, 2009.
The memorial for Travers was held at Riverside Church in the Morningside Heights area of Manhattan. It included two dozen speakers, most notably Whoopi Goldberg, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins and Senator John Kerry. Bill Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte contributed video testimonials.
The speakers commended Travers for her band's inspirational music, as well as its liberal political leanings. She was praised for her lifelong support of rights for women and minorities. The crowd was urged to support causes that Travers championed, including the addition of immigrants to the national health care plan. In addition to the speakers and testimonials, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary joined the mourners in a rendition of their 1969 hit song, "Leaving on a Jet Plane."