Thirty minutes into LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson’s funeral, Willie Green perched on the landing outside the Cathedral of the Madeleine about half a mile away. He was expecting a call.

As a sexton at the iconic Catholic landmark, it was his job to peal the bell once Monson’s body was loaded into the hearse that would take him from the funeral, along South Temple in front of the cathedral, to his burial site.

When Green, 75, got the call, he was to walk up to the cathedral’s attic and press a button to sound the bells. He did the same thing for Mormon church President Gordon Hinckley when he died in 2008.

“It’s respect for them,” Green said. “In the Catholic eyesight, the soul is free. We’re saying to Mr. Monson, ‘Go ahead on home.’”

Minutes later and several yards away, Mark Webb approached South Temple with his dog, Freya, and a large American flag. The two were among the first spectators to arrive.

Webb, 57, came out simply because he loved Monson, he said.

“Beside his calling to be a prophet of the Lord,” he said, “that was the only thing that made him any different than the rest of us.”

Webb decided Thursday to bring the flag with him. Monson served in the Naval Reserve during World War II, and Webb said he wanted to honor him for that service, too.

Soon, the bells began to ring.

Waiting onlookers took it as their cue to swarm the street. Groups of people — about 100 in the three-block stretch — dappled the once-empty sidewalk. As they waited, their heads and phone cameras were fixed west to catch a glimpse of the procession before it arrived.

First, came police on motorcycles. Then a police car followed by black SUVs. Behind that, Monson’s hearse, flanked by police motorcycles. Limousines followed. Then personal vehicles.

Then it was over.

Cortnee Furness, 27, began packing the blanket she and her three girls — ages 5, 3 and 1 — had been sitting on in front of the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City.

She and her children traveled from Lehi on Friday to pay respects to the man she says impacted her during a pivotal point in her life. Monson became prophet when Furness was a high school senior, learning who she was going to be. She credits his influence for her family members having the life they have today.

“His amazing example of service and love for the ‘one’ has helped me become the kind of mom that I want to be,” she explained, “taking care of each of my kids as I know that Heavenly Father would if he were here.”

Watching the procession, Furness said she was overcome with emotion — the good kind.

“He was an amazing man, and he’ll be very, very missed on the Earth,” she added, “but [I’m] good emotional, because we know exactly where he’s going.”