Thomas M. Menino, the longest-serving mayor in Boston’s history, has died. He served as mayor for 10 years, from 1993 until 2013. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year. Mr. Menino’s spokesman, Dot Joyce, confirmed the death. Mr. Menino had been battling advanced cancer. Menino reportedly died in the company of his family and friends.
Nicknamed “the urban mechanic” for his relentless attention to everyday details along with high-profile projects, Mr. Menino, a Democrat, left City Hall when his fifth term ended in January 2014. Slowed by a host of health problems unrelated to the cancer, he had decided not seek a sixth term, saying that he was no longer up to a “Menino schedule.”
The first Italian-American mayor of Boston, Thomas Michael Menino was a lifelong resident of the Hyde Park section of the city, according to his official biography. He earned an associate degree from a local junior college in 1963, and a degree in community planning from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1988. He and his wife, the former Angela Faletra, had two children, and six grandchildren.
Menino was first elected in 1993 and built a formidable political machine that ended decades of Irish domination of city politics, at least temporarily. He won re-election four times. He was the city’s first Italian-American mayor and served in the office for more than 20 years before a series of health problems forced him, reluctantly, to eschew a bid for a sixth term.
“I can run, I can win and I can lead, but not in the neighborhoods all the time as I like,” Menino, a Democrat, told an overflow crowd at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall on March 28, 2013.
Menino had a strong relationship with the current Red Sox ownership group, with whom he worked closely to preserve Fenway Park. Team president Larry Lucchino said Menino was “like a big brother to me.”
“He was an incredibly effective mayor,” Sox owner John Henry said via email. “While he always talked about how lucky he was to have his job, Boston was clearly more fortunate. His legacy resides in every corner of this city in some way.”