Legendary singer Whitney Houston died the evening before the 2012 Grammy Awards in her Beverly Hills hotel room.
Manlius Mayor Mark-Paul Serafin, said that when he heard about the death of Houston, he was overcome with sadness.
In 1986, at the rise of Whitney Houstonâ??s fame, he drew a portrait of her and presented Houston with the portrait back stage at the 1986 New York State Fair. She autographed a copy that was auctioned off for the benefit of the Ronald McDonald House.
Serafin has been drawing portraits for not-for-profits across New York since 1982.
When asked if heâ??d ever though Houston would become the superstar she did, he said he absolutely did. â??That first album was just tremendous, and so was the second on. So, I had no doubts,â?? he said.
â??I loved listening to her music and always enjoyed everything she did with her videos as well,â?? said Serafin.
He says his favorite Whitney Houston song is, â??The Greatest Love of All.â??
Whitney Houston's private funeral will be at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where Houston sang as a child, this Saturday.
Whitney Houston's co-star in "The Bodyguard," Kevin Costner, and her musical mentor, Clive Davis, will speak at her funeral on Saturday.
The eulogy itself will be given by family friend and gospel singer Marvin Winans. A publicist for the late entertainer says Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder both sing at the service.
Streets will be shut down around the funeral service to keep fans away, but those who want to see the service can do so online. The service will be streamed at http://livestream.com/aplive.
(Watch Mayor Serafin's interview with Jim Kenyon)