Menino, the city’s first Italian-American mayor, first became an acting mayor in 1993 when the then Mayor Raymond Flynn was appointed ambassador to the Vatican. He won the 1994 election the following year and was re-elected mayor five consecutive times, finally handing over the reins in 2014 to Mayor Marty Walsh.
During his twenty year reign as head of Boston, Menino earned the moniker 'The Urban Mechanic,' due in part to his commitment to neighborhoods and his desire to transform the city from the ground up. Over two decades, Menino spearheaded the biggest revitalization the city of Boston had ever seen thanks to the completion of big construction projects like the Central Artery “Big Dig” project, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center as well as his efforts to complete renew the Seaport District along Boston’s harbor.
Governor Deval Patrick issued a statement upon his passing "Boston has lost a political giant, and Diane and I have lost a friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to Angela and the whole Menino family. And we thank God for the service and the life of Tom Menino."
Mayor Walsh stated "Today the City of Boston mourns together."
"To any who had come to know him, it is no surprise that more than half of Boston had a direct interaction with Tom Menino. No man possessed a greater love for our City, and his dedicated life in service to Boston and her people and changed the face of the City.
"With sheer determination and unmatched work ethic, he took a city that is not as big in size as we are in stature and put us on the world stage as a national leader in health care, education, innovation and the nitty gritty of executing basic city services.
"He was a leader on policy issues that shaped the Boston we know today: from the environment, to youth engagement, to innovation, to crime prevention. But more than anything, he was a man of the neighborhoods. He held a profound understanding of the direct and immediate impact that municipal government can have on people, and made it a great priority to ensure that government served people, and not the other way around.
"Even in the latest stages of his illness, his concern – first and foremost – was always for Boston. We are forever grateful for Mayor Menino’s guidance, advice, and continued dedication to Boston. And though he has passed, his legacy and spirit will be felt across the City for generations to come.
"Because of his leadership, Boston is a better place today.
"From a grateful City: Our prayers are with Angela, Susan and Tommy, their families and friends, and all who loved Tom Menino."
Former Mayor of Boston and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, Raymond Flynn, said of his successor's passing "Tom Menino and I shared more than the title of being Mayor of Boston, but also had a love for the people of Boston which sustained him every day. This gave him the passion and strength to fight every day to make Boston a better place. Yes, we sometime disagreed about issues, but we never had a difference of opinion about our respect for each other and our pride in making Boston a great city.
"I also admired the courage of Tom Menino in fighting his sickness and his love for his family. Boston is a better city because of Tom Menino and the people of Boston are grateful for his commitment and service."
The day I left City Hall to become U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, I said, "The City is in good hands." "Today, Tom Menino is in good hands."