Boston’s political community hailed former Mayor Thomas Menino as a “man of the neighborhoods,” “political giant,” and the “greatest mayor” in Boston’s history at the news of his passing on Monday.
Menino died at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the age of 71 surrounded by his family, according to TomMenino.org, a website run by the family. Funeral arrangements will be posted on the site later today.
In a statement, Mayor Martin Walsh called Menino a “man of the neighborhoods.”
“No man possessed a greater love for our City, and his dedicated life in service to Boston and her people and changed the face of the City,” Walsh said in a statement.
Reaction came from all levels of government.
"Boston has lost a political giant, and Diane and I have lost a friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to Angela and the whole Menino family. And we thank God for the service and the life of Tom Menino,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. Patrick ordered all flags at the statehouse and all state buildings to half mast in Menino's honor, the State House News Service reported.
U.S. Sen Ed. Markey: “Boston loves Tom Menino because Tom Menino loved Boston with all of his heart.”
“Tom Menino was an urban mechanic without equal, attuned to every detail in every neighborhood and forged a more inclusive Boston,” Markey continued. “Yet his vision for Boston was global, and he pushed the city into a new era of innovation. He helped this shining city on a hill illuminate its light across the world, building a beacon of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “The City of Boston lost a great fighter today. Mayor Tom Menino used his big heart, his strong voice, and his fierce determination to shape every corner of the city. Bruce and I send our prayers to Mayor Menino's wife Angela, to his family, and to all Bostonians. Our mayor is gone, but he lives on in every neighborhood in Boston.”
House Speaker Robert DeLeo: "Mayor Menino had the courage to do whatever it took to fight for the people of Boston. We are all beneficiaries of his generous spirit, particularly the children of Boston, for whom he advocated tirelessly so they would have bright futures.
State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry told the Reporter Menino "gave so much to the city he loves. He loved waking up early in the morning to read the newspaper and to be out there in the community meeting and interacting with people. I think for him to pass away so quickly, it’s just so sad. He just retired, and to not be able to enjoy more of that...that’s really sad. He was a blessed man."
Both Democratic and Republican candidates for governor canceled their scheduled campaign events out of respect for the former mayor.
In a statement, Attorney General Martha Coakley said: “Boston has lost the greatest mayor in its history. He was a friend and mentor, and a shining example to me and countless others of what it means to love and serve your community.”
“He never forgot where he came from and stayed true to who he was to the very end. We will miss him dearly, and we are all better for having known him and Boston is better for his leadership.”
The president of the city's firefighters union Local 718— which famously tangled with the mayor repeatedly throughout his tenure— issued a statement this afternoon that saluted Menino.
"Mayor Menino will forever be a part of Boston's political landscape," said Richard Paris, the union local's president. "His leadership shaped our great city and Bostonians everywhere are grateful for that. Although the relationship between Local 718 and Mayor Menino was strained at times, we always respected his tenacity for negotiating the best fire service for the city's residents and his firefighters."
Mayor Walsh’s full statement:
“To any who had come to know him, it is no surprise that more than half of Boston had a direct interaction with Tom Menino. No man possessed a greater love for our City, and his dedicated life in service to Boston and her people and changed the face of the City.
"With sheer determination and unmatched work ethic, he took a city that is not as big in size as we are in stature and put us on the world stage as a national leader in health care, education, innovation and the nitty gritty of executing basic city services.
"He was a leader on policy issues that shaped the Boston we know today: from the environment, to youth engagement, to innovation, to crime prevention. But more than anything, he was a man of the neighborhoods. He held a profound understanding of the direct and immediate impact that municipal government can have on people, and made it a great priority to ensure that government served people, and not the other way around.
"Even in the latest stages of his illness, his concern – first and foremost – was always for Boston. We are forever grateful for Mayor Menino’s guidance, advice, and continued dedication to Boston. And though he has passed, his legacy and spirit will be felt across the City for generations to come.
"Because of his leadership, Boston is a better place today.”