(File photo) Neil Armstrong

Washington - Flags flew at half mast across the United States on Friday in memory of astronaut Neil Armstrong to mark the private funeral in Ohio of the first man to walk on the moon.

Family and friends of Armstrong, who died on Saturday aged 82, gathered at a club in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill to pay their final respects, the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper reported.

The late-morning funeral was by invitation only, with no media present, reflecting Armstrong's own intensely private nature. A public memorial is scheduled for September 12 in Washington.

The Plain Dealer said eulogies would be read by Armstrong's two sons, with Republican senator Rob Portman and businessman friend Charles Mechem also speaking.

On Monday, US President Barack Obama ordered in a White House proclamation that flags on all US government premises be lowered to half mast Friday to mark Armstrong's funeral.

His order applied to the Stars and Stripes on the top of the White House, all public buildings, military posts, naval stations and US naval ships at sea anywhere in the world, as well as at US embassies and consulates.

Armstrong, who grew up in Ohio and flew in the US navy before joining the US space program, became a world hero when he set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.

The space pioneer was decorated by 17 countries and received a slew of US honors, but was never comfortable with his fame and shied away from the limelight. - Sapa-AFP