The list of reasons why long-time Hollywood celebrity private investigator Paul Barresi (pictured) was banned from attending his father’s funeral on Sept. 29 in Lemoore, Calif. is long and complex. But certainly one of the contributing factors is his decision to work on a book about his fractured family life, tentatively titled Bless Me Father, For I Have Sinned.
What is much more unusual is how Barresi decided to deal with this traumatic situation. In the same manner that he has staked out locations for law-firm assigned clients ranging from Sylvester Stallone to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Eddie Murphy, Barresi camped out on that day near the church and later at the cemetery, watching from afar through the lenses of high-powered binoculars.
“This was the most painful experience of my life,” Barresi tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “One of my brothers was too sick to attend, but the other two–Matthew and Mark—finally spotted me about halfway through the burial service. They squinted and looked at me with such anger and disdain. I didn’t care that they spotted me. At that point, I came out of the bushes, about 100 yards away.”
Barresi’s dad Nick passed away Sept. 22 at age 87, three days after falling from a ladder. A half a block away from St. Peter’s Catholic Church, the disconsolate son watched as his dad’s casket, draped in an American flag, was carried in and out by members of the U.S. Marine Corps. He had been warned that if he tried to enter the church, he would be thrown out by an off-duty cop in attendance who is also a close friend of his mother.
Barresi says that a California Highway Patrol officer also later spied him at the cemetery but refrained from taking any action. When everyone had left, he was able to approach the burial site as two maintenance men were preparing to inter the casket.
“The cemetery director walked up to me on my blind side and asked who I was,” Barresi recalls. “I told him, ‘Paul Barresi, and this is my father.’ The cemetery director then stepped back and told me, ‘Go ahead, it’s okay, take a few minutes with your father.’ By now, I was sobbing uncontrollably. I asked if I could see my father one last time as I was not allowed to attend the viewing at church. He said ‘No, I’m so sorry.’” Barresi would go on to place at the grave site a letter he had prepared.
Before becoming a private investigator, Barresi worked as an adult film star. But he says he doesn’t think that part of his life had anything to do with his family’s harsh funeral day comportment.