BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Friends, family members and political leaders were among those saying a final farewell to former Baltimore mayor Thomas “Young Tommy” D’Alesandro, III, Wednesday.
D’Alesandro’s sister, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, delivered a eulogy for her older brother at a funeral at St. Ignatius Church. The funeral brought together the city’s current mayor along with a number of former mayors and other state and local officials.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivers eulogy for former Baltimore mayor Tommy D’Alesandro, her older brother. pic.twitter.com/FNuG4bG8Ww
— Pat Warren WJZ (@PatWarrenWJZ) October 23, 2019
D’Alesandro, who served as mayor from 1967 to 1971, died over the weekend from complications caused by a stroke. He was 90 years old.
He was the oldest brother of current U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and was often by her side during dedication ceremonies and her swearing-in as Democratic house leader.
Pelosi joked during the eulogy about the stories he would tell his grandchildren, but when it came to public service, he was all business.
The one-term mayor shepherded the city during the unrest of the civil rights movement.
“I played a lot of sports and he said ‘Dutch, you’re an athlete, just think it’s like a sporting contest — you gotta be ready, you have to be part of a team but you’re there for the right reasons to help your constituents. And that was Tommy,” Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger recalled.
D’Alesandro also had a passion for education, noted by Archbishop William Lori, who arrived after a groundbreaking for a new Catholic school.
One of his key appointments as mayor was that of Robert Embry as housing commissioner. Embry remembered him has a fair and courageous leader for the city during a period that saw significant unrest.
“There was never a hint during that time of favoritism, he never called or had anybody call and say, so-and-so should be awarded a contract or somebody should be hired or fired. You couldn’t have had a better mayor in terms of honesty and integrity,” he said.
One of Embry’s earliest memories of the former mayor was watching him stand up to a room of residents opposing open housing in northeast Baltimore.
“Tommy got up and promoted open housing and racial equality, one of the most courageous things I had ever seen,” Embry said. “That’s when he became a hero to me.”
A viewing was also held Tuesday.