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Temptations Singer Given a Motown Sendoff; Kendricks Arrested After Funeral

June 11, 1991

DETROIT (AP) _ David Ruffin’s old partners in the Temptations got a tearful standing ovation at the Motown singer’s funeral with a three-man rendition of the group’s first No. 1 hit, ″My Girl.″

Three of the surviving Temptations, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks and Otis Williams, were among 2,500 people who packed New Bethel Baptist Church on Monday for Ruffin’s funeral. Ruffin died of a crack overdose June 1 at age 50.

Thousands more filled the streets to pay tribute to Ruffin, the group’s original lead singer, and to catch a glimpse of the celebrities who came to bid him farewell.

Stevie Wonder brought the audience to its feet with a rendition of his song ″I Love You,″ and Aretha Franklin rocked them with the gospel song ″He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs.″

Several people collapsed inside the sweltering church and had to be carried out. A crowd rushed the church as the service began, and one man had his thumb severed when a door was slammed on it.

Flowers decorating the church included bouquets from Michael Jackson, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Diana Ross, the Spinners, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

The card on a bouquet from British singer Rod Stewart and his wife read, ″You were a great influence on me. Rest peacefully.″

Speakers talked about the evils of drugs, which Ruffin had battled since the 1960s. He died after collapsing at a crack house in Philadelphia.

″We who are left behind must not just clap our hands and weep and mourn, for he is out of trouble - you are still in it,″ said Nation of Islam leader the Rev. Louis Farrakhan.

The Rev. Robert Smith, pastor of New Bethel, called for a return to ″the kind of music that made black women feel good about black men.″

Among the Temptations’ other hits with Ruffin were ″Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,″ ″I Wish it Would Rain″ and ″I’m Losing You.″

After the services, Kendricks was arrested on a warrant accusing him of failing to pay $26,000 in back child support.

Nancy Mouradian, a Wayne County sheriff’s department spokeswoman, said the singer was notified before the funeral that sheriff’s deputies had a warrant for his arrest.

He was taken into custody after taking part in the service, and then released pending a hearing this afternoon.

Kendricks and his former wife, Patricia, divorced in 1975 in Detroit. He was ordered to pay her $25,000 as well as child support for their son.

It was not the first time he was accused of not living up to that order. In 1982, he paid $5,000 after a Wayne County circuit judge ordered him to serve 60 days in jail unless he did so.

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