January 15, 2018 03:01 PM


There wasn’t a dry eye in the house during the packed funeral held for Jill Zarin’s late husband Bobby, who died at 71 on Saturday following a prolonged cancer battle.

The packed service — which was held at Riverside Memorial in New York City on Monday morning — was attended by the couple’s family as well as by Real Housewives of New York City stars Bethenny Frankel, Sonja Morgan, Dorinda Medley and Aviva Drescher; Million Dollar Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger; and Donald Trump‘s ex-wife Marla Maples.

Everyone who spoke about Bobby at the service agreed that he will be remembered as a generous, kind and fun man. In his remarks, the rabbi praised Bobby, calling him a “superb human being” and “a giant of a person … who touched thousands of lives.”

And Jill — who spoke last — moved guests to tears.

“I wasn’t sure if I could stand up here today,” the 54-year-old said. “[Bobby] was an incredibly great husband, a great father, and grandfather, and [a] truly great friend.”

RELATED VIDEO: RHONY Star Jill Zarin’s Husband Bobby Dies After Battle with Cancer

Jill — who teared up many times during the speech — also shared a touching story about how Bobby remained the generous and kind man she married right until the end.

She said that in December, when Bobby was in the hospital for 22 days, her parents were celebrating their 60th anniversary. Although she wanted to go, she didn’t want to leave Bobby. But Bobby “insisted” that she go, and he was able to get out of the hospital “so I could go celebrate with my parents,” Jill said.

Bobby and Jill Zarin
Khloe Kardashian/Snapchat

She added that after his cancer took an unexpected turn last summer, she started knitting him a blanket — which was draped over his casket during the service.

“When Bobby got sick in July, I needed something to keep my mind going,” she said. “[So] I started knitting him a blanket.”

Jill added that the blanket “kept growing and growing,” but that she was finally able to give it to him three days before he died. “He spent the last days of his life snuggled up in it,” she said, adding, “The irony is when I draped it over the casket, it fit perfectly. Bobby knew.”

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Jill also gave a moving portrait of her final moments with her husband.

On Friday, one day before Bobby’s death, the family knew things weren’t going well, so, Jill said, “We got the family together and we all slept with Bobby in the tiniest room at Memorial Sloan Kettering.”

At one point, her husband’s eldest son David had to leave the hospital for a while, and Jill said she kept telling her husband not to go until David got back. And miraculously, shortly after David walked back into his father’s hospital room, Bobby took his last breath.

Jill and Bobby Zarin
Khloe Kardashian/Snapchat

Earlier in the service, Jill’s sister — judge Lisa Wexler — talked about the“fabulous love affair between Bobby and Jill” and how “Jill always said Bobby’s always right and that Bobby could never say no to her.”

“He was the ground to her air,” Wexler added.

Bobby’s children also got up to pay their respects, including his step-daughter Ally Shapiro.

“Thank you for treating me as your own,” she said, adding, “he never said no to me, either.”

“He was the life of every party and the last man standing, and he derived great pleasure from helping others,” she continued.

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After the service, Morgan praised the “beautiful” memorial.  “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room or a seat available,” she told PEOPLE.

She also shared how moving the speeches were — and that some of them even made people laugh. “Bobby would’ve loved every minute of it. … As the rabbi said he never had an ill word for anyone,” she added. “He was very special.”

Maples said she was “so blessed to have been embraced by the Zarin family.”

“I had the great pleasure of making him the green potions I love to make,” she continued. “I will be there for Jill always.”

Bobby and Jill Zarin
Khloe Kardashian/Snapchat

During the service, Frankel stood in the back, and afterwards she said a few words to Jill outside before she boarded a big black bus traveling to East Hampton for her husband’s burial.

Bethenny Frankel (left) and Jill Zarin
Gotham/GC Images

The pair had a very warm exchange as Frankel paid her respects to her former BFF’s late husband. Although the pair have barely spoken since since finding themselves on opposite sides of a bitter feud that played out on the third season of RHONY in 2010, they have recently put aside their bad blood.

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Ahead of Monday’s service, Zarin shared a tribute to her late husband on social media.

Rest In Peace my love,” she captioned a slideshow of photos of the two over the years. (The coupled married in January 2001.)

“Words cannot express the hole in my heart. Bobby taught me what true and deep love is. Thank you my love for sharing your life with me… for raising Allyson as if she was your own, being an amazing father and grandfather and teaching me how to be a better person. You inspire those around you to be the best they can be. I will never forget you… your legacy lives on through your beautiful children and grandchildren,” she wrote.

Bobby was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009 and went on to have his thyroid removed. He also underwent radioactive iodine treatment.

“The radioactive iodine usually kills off whatever undetectable cancer cells are left in your body after surgery,” he previously told PEOPLE. “We thought it was cured — and it usually is in about 93 percent of cases. But I wasn’t able to absorb the radioactive iodine. So it came back.”

The cancer wound up returning and spread to his lungs. In 2016, Jill revealed to PEOPLE that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His cancer took an “unexpected turn” last summer, and in July, he was admitted to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City while he recovered from a procedure.

“He is the most loving and caring person I have ever known besides my father,” Jill told PEOPLE at the time.

“Sometimes life just isn’t fair. But we have such a great love story. He is the love of my life, and I will do everything in my power to heal and care for him.”

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