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Dignitaries Attend Gailanne Cariddi's Funeral In North Adams

The funeral for State Representative Gailanne Cariddi — who died of cancer over the weekend at 63 — was today in North Adams, Massachusetts. 

More than 100 elected officials from Boston to Pittsfield and dozens of community members gathered at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church for a final farewell to Gailanne Cariddi.

It was packed – with many people huddling together in the back of the nave. Distinguished guests included Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. 

Cariddi, the 1st Berkshire District state representative from North Adams, died Saturday morning at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She had breast cancer.

A bipartisan group of House members spoke. Speaker DeLeo said in his eulogy it was an honor to be a part of an institution that Cariddi loved and loved her back.

In the House on Wednesday, colleagues recalled Cariddi as a quiet, but passionate hard worker.

“But don’t confuse quiet for many times as not decisive, for not passionate,” Alcombright says.

After the funeral service, North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright said the gravity of the situation finally hit.

“It’s a significant community loss,” Alcombright says. “Gail was like the total, total package.”

Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless, Berkshire Sheriff Tom Bowler, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, former North Adams Mayor John Barrett, former Speaker Charles Flaherty, former state Representative Daniel Bosley, Reprenstatives Paul Mark, Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Smitty Pignatelli and state Senator Adam Hinds of the Berkshires were among those paying respects.

Some remembered Cariddi before she got into politics. Born and raised in North Adams, she was a financial manager for Cariddi Sales Company for more than 30 years – but Alcombright said she always had an eye on government.

“She just wanted to help people,” Alcombright said. “And I think the reality is that it didn’t matter: young to old, rich to poor, able to disabled, veterans – the whole gamut.”

She served 21 years on the North Adams City Council, including as president, before being elected to the House in 2010. Grievers praised her as the first woman to hold that seat, and the second from Berkshire County in the state Legislature.

Former state Senator Ben Downing says he would not have been able to get through six terms without Cariddi.

“You know, we worked on things that were successes and things that you wanted to celebrate and we worked together in tough times,” Downing says.

Including during the sudden closure of North Adams Regional Hospital.

“So much of this job is communication, and Gail was a really good communicator both as a listener and communicating to her constituents about what we were all trying to do,” Downing says.

Burial services will be at Bellevue Cemetery in Adams.

A special election to fill the 1st Berkshire seat is pending, and should be announced within the next few weeks.

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