It was Kenny O'Donnell's last hurrah.

The bronze-colored casket draped with an American flag and with a candle at one end sat in the center aisle dividing the 72 rows of wooden pews in the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

Minutes before, hundreds of names and faces of a past era of Boston politics had followed the pallbearers through the massive Roman columns of the old brick church to say farewell to an old friend.

There was "Onion" Bill Burke, who once ran for mayor of Somerville; Edward McLaughlin, a onetime lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, and John Collins, a former mayor of Boston - friends of O'Donnell, the reputed second-most-important man in the Kennedy White House, John F. Kennedy's closest friend.

They were names from the days when O'Donnell and a young Robert F. Kennedy played football together at Harvard.

The Kennedy family today remembered those times and came to the little church in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood to pay tribute.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy gave the eulogy, reading from O'Donnell's favorite literary works - Homer, Shakespeare, John Bunyon's "Pilgrim's Progress."

Nearby sat the widows of Robert and John F. Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy and Jacqueline Onassis, and Robert Kennedy's eldest son, Joseph P. Kennedy III - all of them occasionally looking at O'Donnell's widow and five children.

O'Donnell was John Kennedy's taciturn appointments secretary in the White House, the man who was the first to speak to the end of the working day.

He joined Kennedy as a campaign aide in the 1952 Massachusetts senatorial contest and remained with him until the President's burial in 1963.

Sen. Kennedy called 'O'Donnell's death on Friday at age 53 "a profound loss for the Kennedy family. Kenny's special qualities of dedication earned him the confidence of President Kennedy and enabled him to make a contribution to the entire nation."

Organ music filled the domed chapel with its stained-glass windows and Msgr. Philip J. Kearney said, "He was a solitary dreamer who restlessly walked the streets of the cities of America driven by the spirits of two brothers, striving to keep alive their dream."