Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino passed away today of cancer. He was 71.
Menino, a Democrat, was the mayor of this city for two decades (1993-2013) and thus the longest serving mayor in the history of Boston. In all, Menino was elected five times. Menino’s health began to decline during his fifth term and decided against running in 2013. He would be succeeded by Marty Walsh.
It is true that Menino had an autocratic style (as demonstrated with his refusal to grant Chick-fil-A a licence to open a restaurant due to its opposition to same-sex marriage). His public speaking style earned him the nickname Mumbles. I remember Menino appearing in a public service ad with Red Sox legend David Ortiz and it was so much easier to understand Big Papi had to say in his second language than Menino did in his first.
But Menino was successful because he followed Woody Allen’s old adage – 90% of life is showing up. If there was a community event in Boston, no matter how small, chances are Menino would be there. When Curtis Hall Community Center in Jamaica Plain (which is where I do my swimming) re-opened after being closed for renovations for a year, he was there. It might be small stuff in the grand scheme of things, but often it is the little things that leave the most lasting impression and for that he will be missed.