Roger Ebert Funeral: Wife Calls Critic a ‘Soldier for Social Justice’

Chaz Hammelsmith says her husband would have loved the funeral

Chaz Hammelsmith remembered her husband Roger Ebert as a man without prejudice during a funeral Monday for the late Chicago Sun-Times critic.

"He really was a soldier for social justice," Hammelsmith said.

Getty Images"He had a heart big enough to accept and love all," she added, noting that he was open to people of all races, creeds and sexual orientations.

Ebert, died last week after a long battle with cancer that robbed him of his ability to speak and destroyed his lower jaw. He was 70.

His career spanned more than four decades in both print and on television, making him one of the few movie critics to become a household name. He also had the distinction of being the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, an honor he received in 1975.

He made his name reviewing movies, but towards the end of his life began blogging about politics and religion, revealing his liberal beliefs.

Hammelsmith, an attorney who also helped oversee Ebert's business ventures, said that was not sure that she would be able to speak at the event, but said that she felt obligated to thank the crowd of ordinary Chicagoans and dignitaries at Holy Name Cathedral  who had braved the rain to salute the man and his legacy. Among the prominent figures in the attendance were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

"He would have loved this…he would love the majesty of it," Hammelsmith said.