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.

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.

Mayor Thomas “Young Tommy” D’Alesandro, III, delivers an address to the community during the civil rights unrest in 1968. Photo from WJZ archives

“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.


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