By most accounts, Thomas Michael Menino was a man of the people.
“He had an amazing ability to connect with the people of Boston. … He was everywhere, all the time.”
He served as the mayor of Boston for more than 20 years — the city’s longest-serving mayor. Menino died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.
And with his passing, Boston not only loses a former mayor but also loses the face of the city.
“Good morning. How are you? I’m Tom Menino. Good to see you.”
Menino spent his entire life in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He represented that neighborhood as city councilor for nine years and later became mayor in 1993 — Boston’s first Italian-American mayor.
He was the face of Boston’s urban development and was nicknamed “The Urban Mechanic” for revitalizing the city through improvement projects. (Video via CNN)
He was also the face of Boston’s sports fans. Menino is credited with helping save and renovate Fenway Park when there was, in fact, a plan to demolish the century-old stadium in the early 2000s.
Menino represented Boston’s so-called “racial harmony.” He told The New York Times one of proudest accomplishments “was making the city more hospitable to immigrants and minorities.”
And when the Boston Marathon bombers attacked the annual race in 2013, Menino, then in the hospital, checked himself out.
WFXT: “It’s my job as mayor to be with the people.”
In remembering Menino, President Obama described him as, “bold, big-hearted, and Boston strong.” And Menino loved being that person for the city.
Menino leaves behind his wife, Angela, two children and a host of grandchildren.
This video includes images from Getty Images.