Gov. Cellucci remembered at State House service

Posted: 06/13/13 at 5:30 pm EDT      Last Updated: 06/14/13 at 4:31 am EDT

BOSTON (WHDH) -- In a flag draped coffin, late Gov. Paul Cellucci laid in repose in the State House as people filed in to pay their respects. The former governor was remembered by current and past politicians in an invitation-only service Thursday afternoon.

“A wry humor, a common touch, a respect for public service, and a genuine kindness. I’m glad to have known Paul Cellucci,” said Gov. Deval Patrick.

He served as governor from 1997 to 2001 before becoming ambassador to Canada. Jane Swift, Cellucci's lieutenant governor, choked up remembering how he put her in a position to become the state’s first female governor.

“He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to govern the commonwealth he loved,” said Swift.

Cellucci was diagnosed with ALS 2.5 years ago. The condition didn’t keep him from a public life or a public fight for funds to find a cure.

There were many smiles on Thursday. Gov. William Weld got laughs as he remembered how Cellucci had a well-earned reputation for reaching across the aisle.

“Behold our campaign t-shirt from 1990. Some of our best friends are Democrats. Paul, we thank God for your life,” said Weld.

Cellucci will be remembered at a private funeral service in his hometown of Hudson on Friday.

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