Farewell to Menino: Boston Remembers Mayor at Funeral

Beloved Boston Mayor Tom Menino's private funeral mass took place Monday before his burial at Fairview Cemetery

The pews were filled with Boston sports stars and prominent political figures from New England and beyond. Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played as he left the church for the final time. The ceremony was everything longtime Boston Mayor Tom Menino wanted it to be.

That’s because the urban architect and consummate event planner pre-planned pretty much every detail, from his funeral at Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park where he was baptized as a child to his burial at Fairview Cemetery around the corner from his home.

He even signed off on the list of roughly 1,000 people invited to attend his private funeral mass.

"The people-loving urban mechanic has gone to fix potholes in heaven," said Menino's successor, Mayor Marty Walsh. "I want to say, with all of Boston and for all of Boston, thank you, Mayor Menino."

Sitting front and center were his wife, Angela, his rock throughout his decades of public service, and their children, Susan and Tommy Jr.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was among the speakers.

"It hardly surprises me that half the city's residents have met him. What surprises me is that it was only half," quipped Patrick. "About his infamous mumbling — you always knew what he meant, and more importantly, that he meant what he said."

During the service, some of Menino's colleagues shared anecdotes about their time with Boston's longest-serving mayor.

"He never missed a marathon, but his doctors told him he would have to miss this one," said Patrick of the mayor before last year's bombings. "But he checked himself out of the hospital to be present with us and for us, and that show of strength and resolve helped Boston be strong again."

Former President Bill Clinton and current Vice President Joe Biden were also among the guests.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley presided over the service, but the homily was delivered by Rev. John Connolly Jr. from the mayor’s parish in West Roxbury, St. John Chrysostom.

"We give thanks to God for the gift of Tom's life, and we ask the Lord to comfort us," said Rev. Connolly. "He showed us in the aftermath of April 15, 2013 what it means to be a person of faith, hope and love."

Seven hundred people were seated in the main sanctuary, while 300 were in the basement chapel.

Menino's six grandchildren all played a role in the ceremony, serving as pallbearers and offering words of remembrance.

Granddaughter Samantha Menino shared her memories of her "Poppa."

"He always made sure he thought about other people before himself," she said. "Poppa, we are so proud of you, and we are who wee are because of you. I promise we will continue to honor you and make you proud."

As "My Way" played to close the service, celebrants of Menino's life were reminded that he always governed with his own unique style.

Before the funeral mass, Menino's body was driven through Boston and passed by several of the late mayor's favorite places, including Fenway Park, and other locations closely tied to his legacy.

The procession began at 10:45 a.m., when bells tolled 71 times. The procession began at Faneuil Hall and passed City Hall, continuing by the Parkman House, Boston University, Fenway Park, Dudley Square, Grove Hall, Franklin Park, Bowdoin, Geneva, the Mattapan Library, Roslindale Square and then Most Precious Blood Parish in Hyde Park.

Although the funeral was private, members of the public lined the procession route from Faneuil Hall to Most Precious Blood Parish.

"Thank You Mayor Menino" signs were available starting at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall and several other locations.

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