RIP Mayor Menino

11.04.2014 | Mary Ellen Eagan |

Tom Menino, 1942-2014

I first met Tom Menino when he was running for Mayor of Boston in 1993. My father (a born-again Democrat) was a precinct captain in Dorchester, and invited me to a house party/meet the candidate event on someone’s roof deck. Now, Dorchester is an Irish-American stronghold, and Menino was Italian-American (and there were 4 Irish candidates in the field). On top of that, I could barely hear or understand a word he said (his nickname was “Mumbles”). I didn’t think he had a chance. Boy, was I wrong.

The next time I saw him was at my father’s funeral in 1997. By that time, my father had lost his job and most of his friends to alcoholism. But the Mayor sat discreetly in the back of the mostly empty church, and left a card telling us kids that he was a good guy and we should be proud of him.

He had a reputation of being everywhere – in every parade, but also at neighborhood meetings, checking on roads and trash pickups. I saw him on the street, at meetings, at the airport. And he was all about making the City work. He was proud to sing The Pothole Blues.

The last time I saw Mr. Menino was last summer. He was doing a victory tour of the City, picking up awards and recognition from every group in town – this one the Energy Award for Government Service from the Environmental Business Council of New England. He could barely walk, and spoke for only a few minutes, but got a lengthy standing ovation.

For someone who never graduated from college, and whom many (including your truly) thought unfit for the job, he left quite a legacy – especially in the areas of environment and transportation. He demonstrated that leadership has many styles. Sometimes it’s about getting stuff done.


About the Author
Mary Ellen Eagan, President & CEO, Chief Executive Officer, Aviation, HMMH

Mary Ellen Eagan

President & CEO

As President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of HMMH, Mary Ellen is responsible for providing strategic, innovative leadership…

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