Friends and family of former Fox News chairman and founding CEO Roger Ailes gathered together and mourned his death Saturday during an intimate service at the St. Edward Roman Catholic Church in Palm Beach, Florida.
Approximately 65 guests attended Ailes’ funeral service at 11 a.m. just two days after he passed away at age 77 following complications from a severe fall a few days earlier. Ailes’ wife, Elizabeth, and his son, Zachary, joined by several Fox News hosts and contributors, including LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Bill Hemmer, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Angela McGowen, Dr. Manny Alvarez, and retired U.S. Army Gen. Jack Keane. Radio host Rush Limbaugh was also in attendance with his wife, Kathryn.
Family and friends alike remembered Ailes as fiercely committed to his principles and always willing to lend a hand to an up-and-comer.
“I loved my father,” Ailes’ 17-year-old son, Zachary, told LifeZette. “He considered how much certain people hated him as a measure of success.”
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Zachary pledged to fight to clear his father’s name after a series of sexual harassment allegations led to his ultimate ouster from Fox News.
“I want all the people who betrayed my father to know that I’m coming after them,” Zachary Ailes said during a speech at the ceremony, “and hell is coming with me.”
Longtime personality Kimberly Guilfoyle remembered Ailes as a “champion of women.”
Hannity read a psalm during the ceremony, telling the Daily Mail afterward that “I wouldn’t be what I am today without Roger.”
“[Ailes] took me as a local radio host in Atlanta and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hannity added. “He saw things in people that no one else would see. He is an American patriot of the highest level.”
Ailes had been a member of St. Edward’s since he and Elizabeth moved to Palm Beach in September following his exit from Fox News amid sexual harassment allegations.
While remembering her late husband, Elizabeth told The Putnam County News and Reporter, “The happiest times in our marriage were the last six months, when we enjoyed every day together without any cares. We were in love and every day woke up and looked at each other and said this is is where we belong. Roger will be remembered for the great man he was.”
Douglas Kennedy, a nephew of former President John F. Kennedy who works at Fox News, was also in attendance with his mother Ethel, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Douglas read from the book of Romans, focusing on a passage describing how nothing can separate a true believer from God’s love, The Daily Mail noted.
Following the funeral service, Ailes’ friends and family gathered for a luncheon at the Everglades Club. Elizabeth asked that any donations be made out to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which Ailes supported since its founding in 1995, according to the Putnam County News and Reporter.
“Roger has been an extremely generous and loyal supporter of our foundation since our founding in 1995. Due to Roger and Beth’s incredible generosity, numerous children of fallen Marines and Federal Law Enforcement Officers have received educational grants,” James Kallstrom, a former assistant director of the FBI and current chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, said in a statement posted to the foundation’s website.
“In recognition of his overwhelming support, Roger was our 2005 Semper Fidelis Award recipient. We are truly grateful for his counsel and generosity, and our deepest sympathies are with his wife, Elizabeth, and son, Zachary,” Kallstrom, who attended the funeral, added in his statement.
The former Fox News chairman’s coffin had an American flag draped over it as it entered and exited St. Edward’s.
Ailes, who completely transformed the cable news television landscape and modern American politics with his innovative vision, died less than a year after he left the network he helped found alongside acting Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch. Ailes died less than a year after he left the network.