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A distraught Mary Tyler Moore made final preparations Friday...

By
Vernon Scott

HOLLYWOOD -- A distraught Mary Tyler Moore made final preparations Friday for the funeral Saturday of her only child, Richard Meeker Jr., who died while playing with a shotgun and murmuring 'She loves me, she loves me not.'

'Mary is holding up pretty well,' producer Grant Tinker, the actress' estranged husband, said.

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'She has moments of terrible sadness, of course. But she's strong. She's hanging in there. She will be fine, but it's going to take time.'

Tinker said only members of the family and a small group of friends would attend the cemetery funeral services. They hoped to keep the services secret, he added, to avoid the possibility of hordes of the curious descending on the cemetery.

'Mary just couldn't take it if a lot of strangers showed up,' he said. 'This is a time in her life when she needs all the privacy she can get.'

Miss Moore has been in seclusion, refusing to talk to any but her closest friends, since Tinker telephoned her in New York in the pre-dawn hours last Wednesday with the tragic news that her son was dead.

A spokesman disclosed Friday that President Carter called the actress Wednesday night to express his sympathy. Details of the conversation were not revealed.

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Miss Moore has made a television commerical endorsing Carter for re-election, but the spokesman said they are not close personal friends.

Meeker, 24, was killed by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to his head at a rented home he shared with two young women near the University of Southern California.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has scheduled further tests to determine if there were any drugs or alcohol in his system and if there was any reason to think he wanted to take his life, but authorities agreed it would probably never be determined whether the death was accidental or a suicide.

Both of Meeker's roommates said they were sure the shooting was an accident.

Judy Vasquez told officers Meeker was sitting on the bed after a telephone conversation with his girlfriend, 'fiddling around' with a shotgun.

'Richie was loading and unloading the gun _ he had lots of them and liked to hunt _ and repeating, 'She loves me, she loves me not,' when there was a big bang and he fell on the bed,' she said.

His other roommate Janet McLaughlin, told reporters Thursday night that Meeker did not use any 'dope, alcohol or pills' and said she was sure the shooting was just 'a bizarre accident.'

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'Everything was going perfect in his life,' she added. 'If they're looking for something sordid in this, they aren't going to find it.'

She also noted that the three roommates had a 'strictly platonic' relationship and said Meeker and his girlfriend, Linda Jason of Fresno, Calif., 'were getting along fine.'

'Linda is very religious and so was Richard,' she said. Earlier in the week Miss Jason's mother noted that Meeker had recently 'accepted Christ in his heart' and said the two 'loved each other a whole lot.'

Miss Moore, Tinker, and Meeker's father, Richard Meeker Sr., who lives in Sacramento, Calif., also described the youth as happy and well adjusted and said they were convinced the shooting was a tragic accident.

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