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Tributes to former governor Paul Celluci

Former governor Paul Cellucci died Saturday at 65 from ALS.

BILL BRETT/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 1997

Former governor Paul Cellucci died Saturday at 65 from ALS.

Public officials offered tributes to former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci, who died Saturday at age 65.

Paul Cellucci was a dedicated public servant who served our state and nation with integrity and professionalism. He could work with both Democrats and Republicans in the best interest of the “common good.” I enjoyed our very special friendship and extend my condolences to his loyal and caring family.

Addio Paul.

-- Ray Flynn, former US abassador to the Vatican and former mayor of Boston

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Paul Cellucci was a man of integrity who committed his life to public service and working with members of all parties to get things done for the people he served. As District Attorney, I was so impressed when he brought together a group to address the plague of domestic violence in our communities, and personally chaired the meetings until we had developed a plan to help victims. Paul Cellucci was a voice of reason and bi-partisanship in our Commonwealth, and he will be greatly missed. I want to offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends, former staff, and all he touched.

--Martha Coakley, Massachusetts attorney general

Paul Cellucci was a dedicated and understanding public figure who made a great contribution to his country, commonwealth and community. A staunch and well-regarded Republican at the state and national level, Paul was an adroit partisan, but he was able and willing to be bipartisan when it was appropriate, as I know from having served with him in the House of Representatives as well as at the executive level when he was lieutenant governor and governor. My condolences go to the Cellucci family.

-- William Galvin, Massachusetts secretary of state

Angela and I are mourning the loss of a true gentleman, a great governor, and a wonderful friend. Our City and our Commonwealth will miss him deeply and his type – a leader who wanted to help people.

He was one of the very first people to reach out after I became Mayor to offer a hand, and he did that over and over again. I will never forget what Governor Cellucci meant to Boston and to me.

On behalf of the people of Boston, we share profound sympathies with his family and many friends and hope that they will find comfort in knowing that his impact here will be forever felt – for all that he did and especially for the man and leader he was.

-- Thomas M. Menino, mayor of Boston

Teresa and I are saddened to hear of Paul’s sudden passing and we’re thinking of Jan and the girls and their families.

Despite the reality of the illness which all of Massachusetts watched Paul battle so bravely, this news comes as a shock given how active and vital Paul was right up to the last months. He called the State Department to advocate on behalf of a Massachusetts family just a couple months ago, something that was quintessential Paul Cellucci.

We came from different political parties, and we both loved the political arena. But Paul always separated the letter after a politicians’ name from the person. He always had time to ask about your family, and always had a twinkle in his eye about the great journey he’d taken from Hudson to the Governor’s office and on to representing America in Canada.

I can’t help but think of the final high standard Paul set in the way he battled ALS. The twinkle was still there, even from his wheelchair. He didn’t withdraw, but rather he began a new chapter as an advocate supporting UMass’s research into the very illness that he faced with courage.

Today we all salute Paul not only as a husband, father, grandfather, Governor and Ambassador, but as the kind of person his beloved father Argeo taught him was most important: a great American citizen.

-- John Kerry, US secretary of state

My family and I are saddened to hear of the passing of Paul Cellucci. Ambassador Cellucci served our nation as a great Governor of Massachusetts and as US Ambassador to Canada. I will always be grateful to him for his kind words of support for me, and will forever appreciate his guidance and wisdom. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife Jan, and with the entire Cellucci family.

-- Gabriel Gomez, Republican candidate for US Senate

Paul Celucci was a public servant in the finest tradition of Massachusetts. As he served at every level of government, including locally, as Governor, and as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, he never forgot where he came from. Hudson was always his home. He helped shape Massachusetts’s innovation economy, and passed some of the most forward-looking gun control legislation in the country....

His most recent work dedicated to find a cure at U Mass Worcester for ALS was a final gift that will continue to give back to the Commonwealth as he did throughout his career. My wife Susan and I send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

-- Edward J. Markey, Democratic US respresentative and candidate for US Senate

Massachusetts lost a favored son and devoted public servant today. A lawyer, legislator, governor and diplomat, Paul Cellucci was also a kind man and a friend. Diane and I join with countless others in sending our thoughts and prayers out to Jan, their daughters and the entire Cellucci family in this time of loss.”

-- Deval Patrick, Massachusetts governor

Paul’s long record of public service was consistently defined by grace, integrity and common sense, qualities that are all too scarce in modern politics. Massachusetts has lost a true leader and friend but Paul’s legacy lives on through four decades of public policy accomplishments, his research fund to eradicate ALS and the friendships he built over a lifetime of service.’’

— Jane Swift, former acting governor of Massachusetts and lieutenant governor in the Cellucci Administration

This son of Hudson, Massachusetts, was a close and loyal friend, a superb public servant, and a devoted family man — and our admiration for the way he served throughout his life, and fought a dreaded disease at the end, knows no bounds. Paul was literally the first public official in the Bay State to endorse the first Bush for President campaign back in 1978 ... He capped his career in public service with four sterling years as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada in the second Bush administration.

-- George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former US presidents

It is with deep sorrow that we acknowledge the passing of Gov. Cellucci as a consequence of ALS. From the beginning, the Governor refused to allow his challenging diagnosis to prevent him from continuing his lifetime’s work of serving and helping others. Indeed, he made a conscious and inspiring decision to use his illness to raise awareness, galvanize action and spread hope,” said Collins.

In launching the Champion Fund, the Governor’s primary motivation and greatest satisfaction came from knowing that others, now and far into the future, could win the gift of more days as a result of the breakthroughs enabled through the support of his fundraising efforts.”

Our sincere condolences are with Gov. Cellucci’s family. To his many friends and colleagues who were touched by his humanity – before and during his illness – the passing of Governor Cellucci is a moment of great sorrow, but also of inspiration. Because of him, many were inspired to support research into possible cures for ALS. Many more were inspired by his willingness to invest time and energy, which became more precious with each passing day, to help others.

--Michael F. Collins, chancellor, UMass Medical School

Material from the Associated Press was included in this compilation.

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