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Funeral Held For Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino

The life of legendary former Boston Mayor Tom Menino was celebrated today at a funeral in the neighborhood church where he was baptized as a child. The funeral brought together top national and state politicians, sports figures, friends and former staffers of the city’s longest-serving mayor.

Tom Menino was mourned and laid to rest Monday in a ceremony that he had largely pre-planned including the processional route, the speakers, the hymns, and the roughly 1,000 guests invited to the private funeral mass.

"Thomas Michael Menino, the relentless, the big-hearted, the people-loving urban mechanic has gone to fix potholes in heaven," said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who succeeded Menino just 10 months ago.

The funeral was attended by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, other members of the state’s congressional delegation, numerous state and local politicians, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz and Celtics legend Bill Russell.

The candidates for Massachusetts governor in Tuesday’s election, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley, were both at the funeral.

Seated in front was Menino’s wife of 47 years Angela, and their two children, Susan and Tommy Jr.  Menino’s six grandchildren did readings during the nearly two-hour long service.  Samantha Menino said her grandfather was an inspiration.

"He always thought about other people before himself. Every time it snowed I called him to make sure knew school needed to be canceled," she said as the crowd laughed.  " He reminded me that children in Boston relied on school lunches and if they did not go to school they would not have a warm place to stay."

Gov. Deval Patrick paid tribute to Menino, recalling his playful sense of humor.  Patrick said when he was hospitalized after hip surgery Menino sent him a jump rope, a soccer ball and a note that read” quit faking and get out of bed.”

" Tom Menino," said Patrick as he gazed down at the mahogany casket, "Thank you for being my friend. For making time for the meek as well as the mighty. And, for the exceptional example of honorable public service."

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presided over the funeral mass. Rev. John Connolly Jr., a Boston police chaplain who knew Menino for20 years, said in the homily, “from the midst of sorrow and sadness we give thanks to God for the gift of Tom Menino’s Life.”

 Menino’s casket was carried from the church by seven Boston police officers. Before the hearse left for the cemetery, singer John Stevens performed a melancholy rendition of the classic song “My Way”

Menino used the same parting song after his announcement that he would not seek a sixth term in 2013.

Before the funeral Menino’s body was driven through Boston. The procession route passed many of Menino’s favorite places including City Hall, Fenway Park, and Boston University. It wound through the neighborhoods that were revitalized during Menino’s 20 years in office and past the new libraries, health centers and playgrounds that are part of his legacy.

People lined the route holding “Thank Your Mayor Menino” signs.

Audio of the funeral service courtesy New England Cable News.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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