Boston bids final farewell to former Mayor White
BOSTON -- Boston paid a final farewell to iconic mayor Kevin White on Wednesday. Many of the state’s top political leaders turned out to pay their respects for the mayor who served the city for 16 years.
White died Friday at age 82 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. Everyone who knew him said he was larger than life, full of wit, loved to have a good laugh and he was in love with the city of Boston.
The procession had all the earmarks of a grand send off for the mayor, who was described as a visionary and one of a kind.
“They broke the mold. They broke the mold. He was a truly remarkable man. Loved him,” said Stephen Fox, who was White's executive assistant.
"As a young guy, he took a chance on me. I was budget director at 29-years-old. And who else would let a 29-year-old be in charge of a city budget?" said Dennis Morgan, White's former budget director.
White served as Boston’s mayor from 1968 to 1984. He presided over the city during the tumultuous days of forced bussing. Yet he somehow managed to bring the fractured city together as well as move it forward.
White never forgot where he came from.
“He blended the old and the new. He was somebody who understood the old system and its strengths and used those to build on an outreach to new things,” said Rep. Barney Frank.
White’s family hugged friends who came to pay their respects at the funeral held at St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church in Boston’s Back Bay. Before the services, a procession snaked its way from the Parkman House through the city to the church. The procession first stopped at his Mount Vernon Street home on Beacon Hill, made its way to the statue dedicated to him in Faneuil Hall -- a place he helped create and bring to life.
"Look at the city. Look at Quincy Market, look at downtown Boston. Look at some neighborhoods. That's a legacy Kevin White left," said Mayor Thomas Menino.
U.S. John Kerry, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and White’s successor, Ray Flynn were among the political leaders that attended White’s service.
“I like Tom Menino, I liked Ray Flynn, Kevin was different. Kevin was right out of Central Casting. The chiseled chin…He should have been on Mount Rushmore. For the time he served, for the things that happened in this city, right guy for the right time. They’ll be talking about Kevin White years and years from now. He was just that special,” said Joe Fitzgerald, a close friend of White's.
7’s Victoria Block was a reporter when White was in charge of Boston. She describes him as a person with a passion for life, he loved people and he loved public service.
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