Houston funeral Saturday at childhood church

The body of Whitney Houston arrives at Whigham Funeral Home, in Newark, N.J., Feb. 13, 2012. AP Photo/Rich Schultz

Updated 4:10 p.m. ET

NEWARK, N.J. - Whitney Houston's funeral will be held Saturday in the church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child.

The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark said Tuesday that the funeral will be held at noon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

The funeral home said that no wake would be held and that there would be no public memorial at Newark's Prudential Center, the sports arena that the family had discussed as a possible venue.

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The funeral service will be by invitation only, Carolyn Whigham said, reflecting the family's desire to keep the memorial more personal.

"They have shared her for 30 some years with the city, with the state, with the world. This is their time now for their farewell," she said.

"The family thanks all the fans, the friends and the media, but this time is their private time," she said.

The 48-year-old Houston died Feb. 11 at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., just hours before she was set to perform at producer Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards bash. Officials say she was apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub.

After an autopsy Sunday, authorities said there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on Houston. It could be weeks, however, before the coroner's office completes toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.

Los Angeles County coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter said bottles of prescription medicine were found in the room. He would not give details except to say: "There weren't a lot of prescription bottles. You probably have just as many prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet."

Her body was returned to New Jersey late Monday aboard a private jet, accompanied by her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, and her cousin, Dionne Warwick, among other friends and family, CBS station WCBS reported.

Houston was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, led the music program for many years. Dionne Warwick also sang in its choir.

Houston's family asked Tuesday that any donations in her memory be sent to the arts-focused public school that she attended as a child and that was named after her in the late 1990s.

In lieu of flowers, they said mourners should donate to the Whitney Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts in East Orange, a school serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Houston attended the school as a girl when it was named the Franklin School and was a regular visitor for many years afterward. On Monday, students held an outdoor service in her memory.

An impromptu memorial for Houston was held Sunday during a sadness-tinged Grammys, with Jennifer Hudson saluting her memory with a performance of "I Will Always Love You." Viewership for the awards show soared over last year by 50 percent, with about 40 million viewers tuning in to the program on CBS.

On Tuesday, a steady stream of well-wishers continued to stop at the New Hope Baptist Church, where the front fence was adorned with dozens of flowers, balloons and oversized cards, some with hundreds of signatures and condolences written on them.

Several people expressed disappointment that a public memorial had not been scheduled. But they also said they understood why the funeral was being kept private.

"Maybe at some point down the road, they might do something," said B.J. Frazier, of East Orange, who said she had performed as a singer with one of Houston's aunts. "But it's like they're saying today, they shared her for a long time and they just want her to themselves for now."

A sensation from her first album, Houston was one of the world's best-selling artists from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, turning out such hits as "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All" and "I Will Always Love You." But as she struggled with drugs, her majestic voice became raspy, and she couldn't hit the high notes.

Houston left behind one child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, from her marriage to singer Bobby Brown.

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