Reporting Joe Shortsleeve
BOSTON (CBS) – There was a final farewell Thursday to former Governor Paul Cellucci. Family, friends and political leaders gathered at the State House for a memorial service to honor him. On Saturday the 65-year-old statesman lost his long battle with ALS.
They came from all corners of the state, the country and the continent to say goodbye to him today.
A boy from a small town who never lost an election and never lost the common touch that made him so successful and so loved.
After three decades of public service Paul Cellucci’s final journey up the State House steps came a little after noon time Thursday. Inside the House Chamber on Beacon Hill where he rose the ranks, the political power structure of Massachusetts past and present, Republican and Democrat, gathered to say goodbye to a respected leader and friend.
Governor Patrick described him this way. “A wry humor, a common touch, a respect for public service and a genuine kindness. I am glad to have known Paul Cellucci.”
Former Republican Governors Romney, Swift and Weld sat side by side. Swift became the first woman to lead the state when Cellucci resigned to become Ambassador to Canada in 2001 .
“He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to govern the Commonwealth he loved,” said Swift.
“Massachusetts has lost a great citizen and statesmen but his enormous contributions have changed our Commonwealth forever and will endure.”
Former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card served in the State House with Cellucci.
“He cared about everyone,” said Card. “They did not have to have a vowel at the end of their name or live in Hudson, he cared for everyone.”
Former Governor William Weld, a close friend of Cellucci’s for 24 years, recalled the glory days and in particular Cellucci’s ability to reach across the aisle to other party.
“And we just didn’t talk the talk we walked the walk. Behold our T -shirt from the 1990 campaign, which says, ‘some of our best friends our Democrats.’”
In fact, all the Democrats Joe Shortsleeve spoke with today had kind words for Paul Cellucci. Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn described him as a close friend. Flynn put it this way.
Cellucci he said was a not politician, he was simply a great guy.