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Boston Bids Mayor Menino A Final Farewell

The procession passes City Hall in Boston. (Elise Amendola/AP)
The procession passes City Hall in Boston. (Elise Amendola/AP)
This article is more than 5 years old.

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was remembered Monday as a devoted public servant who “saw the deep potential in every human being.”

“When Tom Menino had your back, that was all you needed,” Menino’s successor, Mayor Marty Walsh, said during a funeral service at the Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park. “The proof is all around us, Tom Menino had Boston’s back.”

The funeral service followed a miles-long procession around the city that Menino lead through two decades of transformation. In several neighborhoods, residents gathered in the streets to bid their longest-serving mayor a final farewell.

"When Tom Menino had your back, that was all you needed. The proof is all around us, Tom Menino had Boston’s back.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

The procession was somber at times, passing by a nearly silent crowd outside Fenway Park with Red Sox hats placed by their hearts. In other locations it was celebratory, with crowds cheering “thank you” as the mayor’s casket passed by.

The funeral service was attended by a number of public officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick. Several Boston sports legends were also in attendance, including Bill Russell and David Ortiz.

“He is rightly praised as the ‘Urban Mechanic,’ the doer of small things … But he was also a thinker of big things,” Gov. Patrick said during the service. “It took a big imagination to see that the Seaport or Dudley Square could take the shape they have taken.”

Gov. Patrick praised Menino's "real passion about his agenda for racial healing" and thanked him for his "exceptional example of honorable public service."

"His family had to share him with the rest of us for decades, and we thank you and maybe apologize for that," Patrick said, noting that it "seems especially sad that he would be taken just at the point when you got his undivided attention."

Following the ceremony, Menino was laid to rest at the Fairview Ceremony in Hyde Park.

Our live updates from the procession and funeral:

Surrounded by family, Angela Menino, Mayor Thomas Menino's wife of 48 years, stands in front of her husband's casket outside of the Most Precious Blood Parish following a funeral ceremony in her husband's honor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Surrounded by family, Angela Menino, Mayor Thomas Menino's wife of 48 years, stands in front of her husband's casket outside of the Most Precious Blood Parish following a funeral ceremony in her husband's honor. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Update 2:42 p.m.: Mourners flowed out of the Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park to the sounds of the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums.

From the church, the procession will head to Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park, where Menino will be laid to rest.

Update 2:30 p.m.: Menino's casket was moved outside to the sound of bagpipes. Before being placed in the hearse, a version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" was performed on the sidewalk in front of the church.

Update 2:18 p.m.: "His life was about building community, and even in his death he has strengthened us as a community," Cardinal Sean O'Malley said before leading the congregation in prayer.

Update 2:12 p.m.: "You always said that the status quo was moving backwards," Weiss said of Menino.

Update 2:10 p.m.: Mitchell Weiss, Menino's former chief of staff, is speaking now.

Update 2:05 p.m.: Two of Menino's granddaughters, Olivia Fenton and Samantha Menino, are offering their own words of remembrance for their grandfather.

Update 1:51 p.m.: As the Mass continues, here are some images WBUR photographer Jesse Costa captured outside the church in Hyde Park before the service began:

Acoss the street, people watch as Mayor Menino's casket is brought into the church. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Acoss the street, people watch as Mayor Menino's casket is brought into the church. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Red Sox star David Ortiz shakes hands with a police officer as he enters the church. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Red Sox star David Ortiz shakes hands with a police officer as he enters the church. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The mayor's wife of 48 years, Angela Menino, and their son, Tom Menino, Jr., prepare to follow the casket into the church. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The mayor's wife of 48 years, Angela Menino, and their son, Tom Menino, Jr., prepare to follow the casket into the church. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Update 1:10 p.m.: The homily is being delivered by the Rev. John J. Connolly, Jr., of St. John Chrysostom Parish in West Roxbury, where Menino was a parishioner.

Update 1:05 p.m.: Here's Menino's casket being carried into the church in Hyde Park earlier this afternoon, covered with the flag of the city of Boston:

(Jesse Costa/WBUR)
(Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Update 12:53 p.m.: To Menino's wife, Angela, Gov. Patrick said: "It seems especially sad that he would be taken just when you got his undivided attention. And we thank you for the grace and strength you have shown in these difficult days and weeks."

In closing, Gov. Patrick called Menino an "exceptional example of honorable public service."

Update 12:50 p.m.: "About his infamous mumbling, you always knew what he meant, and more importantly, that he meant what he said," Patrick said.

"He is rightly praised as the 'Urban Mechanic,' the doer of small things ... But he was also a thinker of big things," Patrick said. "It took a big imagination to see that the Seaport or Dudley Square could take the shape they have taken."

Update 12:48 p.m.: Gov. Patrick recalls asking Menino for his support in his first run for governor 10 years ago, when he was a relative unknown. Menino said no. They talked for an hour, Menino quizzing Patrick on why he wanted to run. When it was over, Menino told Patrick he wouldn't help him, but he wouldn't hurt him either.

"He seemed to make time for everybody, even a political nobody like me," Gov. Patrick said. "His politics were very personal that way."

Update 12:38 p.m.: "He didn't believe in old Boston or new Boston," Mayor Walsh said. "He believed in one Boston — the city he devoted his life to."

Update 12:35 p.m.: Mayor Walsh, in opening his remarks, said Menino, the "Urban Mechanic," has gone to fix potholes in heaven.

"Tom Menino believed in underdogs," Walsh said. "He knew what it was to be underestimated, he knew what it was to struggle. But he also knew the deep potential in every human being — the deep potential we keep hidden even sometimes from ourselves."

"When Tom Menino had your back, that was all you needed," Walsh added. "The proof is all around us, Tom Menino had Boston's back"

Update 12:30 p.m.: The casket is being brought into the Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park, followed by the mayor's family.

Here is the program for the service, which will begin shortly with remarks from Mayor Walsh and Gov. Patrick.

Update 12:20 p.m.: As the hearse carrying Mayor Menino's body arrived at the Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park, the crowd gathered outside was silent, only the sound of drums could be heard.

Those in attendance include Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State John Kerry, Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Marty Walsh.

Watch live coverage of the funeral above, or listen live to 90.9 FM here.

Update 12:15 p.m.: Here's an image of the procession passing Boston City Hall earlier this morning:

The procession passes City Hall in Boston. (Elise Amendola/AP)
The procession passes City Hall in Boston. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Update 12 p.m.: The procession is set to arrive at the Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park shortly. Here's a shot from the procession rolling through Dudley Square earlier this morning:

Update 11:53 a.m.: Sarah Smith, of the Orchard Gardens School, told WBUR's Zeninjor Enwemeka in Dudley Square that Orchard Gardens wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Mayor Menino:

Read about the Orchard Gardens School's turnaround here.

Update 11:50 a.m.: A banner thanking Mayor Menino has been unveiled at City Hall, where people are gathering to watch a broadcast of the funeral.

Update 11:47 a.m.: Here's an image from earlier this morning at Bowdoin and Geneva, before the procession passed by:

Update 11:33 a.m.: Menino's successor, Mayor Martin Walsh, was just spotted arriving at the church in Hyde Park with his longtime girlfriend Lorrie Higgins. He will speak during this afternoon's ceremony.

Update 11:22 a.m.: Here's a photo of the procession rolling through Fenway Park a few minutes ago:

Update 11:20 a.m.: Some of Boston's sports legends have been spotted at the church in Hyde Park waiting for Mayor Menino to arrive, including Bill Russell, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz.

Last week, WBUR's Martin Kessler wrote about Menino's sports legacy:

As mayor from 1993 to 2014, Menino, who died Thursday at the age of 71, oversaw the greatest all-around era in Boston sports history. During his time in office, the area’s four major franchises combined for eight titles: the Celtics hung another banner; the Bruins lifted a Cup; the Patriots won three Super Bowls; and, of course, the cursed Red Sox won three World Series.

When Menino took office July 12, 1993, it had been seven years since Boston had won a title. Nowadays Bostonians view duck boat parades like St. Patrick’s —  err, Evacuation Day: annual celebrations that belong to the Hub.

Menino’s sports legacy will, in all unfortunate likelihood, also be tied to more-than-a-few verbal fumbles (see Vince “Wilcock” and Rajon “Hondo.”)

But if you click through the slideshows and listen past the soundbites, you’ll find something substantial — a mayor who has shaped the way Bostonians experience their pro sports teams.

Read the full story here.

Update 11 a.m.: WBUR's Curt Nickisch is at Fenway Park, where people were lined up waiting for Menino's procession to roll by:

Update 10:55 a.m.: To the sound of bagpipes, Mayor Menino's casket was carried out of Faneuil Hall and placed in a hearse that will take Menino on his last ride through the city, to the Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park. As the hearse left Faneuil Hall, bells of parishes across the city were expected to ring 71 times, one for each year of the mayor's life.

Update 10:40 a.m.: President Bill Clinton was seen at Faneuil Hall this morning, paying his respects to former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

And here's an old Boston Globe photo of Mayor Menino and President Clinton:

Our Original Post: 

Boston residents are paying their final respects Monday to the city's longest-serving mayor.

At 10:45 a.m., the late former Mayor Thomas Menino will have his "final ride home" in a procession that will lead from Faneuil Hall, where he lay in repose Sunday, to Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park — the same church where he was baptized and married.

The public is encouraged the line the procession route (see map below), which will wind by several locations of significance to the former mayor, including the Parkman House, Boston University, Fenway Park, Dudley Square, Grove Hall, Franklin Park, Bowdoin Geneva, the Mattapan Library and Roslindale Square.

When the procession begins, bells in Boston's neighborhood parishes will toll 71 times, for each year of Mayor Menino's life.

Following the procession, a private funeral Mass will be held at the parish in Hyde Park, where members of Menino's family and public officials will offer words of remembrance. (This post will have video livestream of the Mass.)

Menino's six grandchildren will participate in the ceremony, as well as Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Gov. Deval Patrick.

Abby Elizabeth Conway Twitter Digital Producer/Editor
Abby Elizabeth Conway was formerly a digital producer and editor at WBUR.

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