Mayor Mike Passes

Posted on Monday, January 5 2009 by Heather Brandon

Update 1/5: Sarah Barr of Mayor Eddie Perez’s office announced late today that calling hours will be held from 3:00 to 8:00 pm on Wednesday, January 7 at the D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, 277 Folly Brook Boulevard in Wethersfield. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 8, 10:00 am at St. Augustine Church, 10 Campfield Avenue in Hartford’s South End. Burial will be at Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Avenue, also in the South End.

Former Hartford Mayor Mike Peters passed away last night at the age of 60, after suffering from liver damage, getting a transplant in October, and then enduring kidney problems. At about 9:00 pm, City Councilperson Luis Cotto announced on Twitter, “bumming…mike peters just died!”

Two hours later, WFSB aired a memorializing summary of Peters’s time as mayor from 1993 to 2001, for its 11:00 pm news broadcast:

Under the Peters administration, the city cracked down on gangs and beefed up police presence with substations. Soon, the streets were cleaner and drug-infested housing projects were torn down.

Voters responded and re-elected Peters by landslides in 1995, 1997, and 1999. In 1996, Peters was named one of the top ten public officials in the nation. However, 1997 brought the lowest point of Peters’s administration. The state lost its only major-league sports franchise – The Hartford Whalers.

Still, Peters never gave up his hopes of bringing professional sports to Hartford. In fact, he got the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to tour the city in 1996, and the New England Patriots considered moving to Hartford twice.

Anchor Dennis House added that viewers could stop by his blog to leave their thoughts about Peters; so far there are three comments. The Courant made available a guest book for the purpose of paying respects; a few dozen entries have been created so far.

Some of the city’s bloggers have weighed in today with stories about Peters. Helder Mira at ¡Mira! Hartford recalled his days as a cameraman for the public access station putting in time at City Hall, becoming friendly with the mayor in his last two-year term of four in all. Peters personally gave Mira, and offered to autograph, a copy of Bob Steele’s large, glossy, hardcover book (pictured, photo by Mira), Hartford: New England Renaissance, published in 2000, featuring the mayor prominently.

Recently-laid-off-from-WTIC columnist Colin McEnroe described Peters in his blog as having “an inexhaustible charm and quite a bit of energy. Those two things could get him in almost any door and buy him some time to make his pitch.” Laurel blogger dubymcd wrote that Peters had a big heart and a small ego, and provided a nostalgic photo of an interview with Peters on the day after he was first elected to office.

Reporters Edmund Mahoney and Jeffrey Cohen wrote an article for today’s Courant in which many significant features of the Peters administration were touched upon. From the piece:

[Peters] began Mayor Mike’s Companies for Kids to expand after-school activities, and it raised $1 million for youth recreation programs in the city. He pushed for a state takeover of the non-performing Hartford public school system. And he backed a six-month, city moratorium on new social service facilities, such as half-way houses and group homes. Some city neighborhoods were at risk of becoming social service malls.

Peters fought to get the Crown Palace movie theaters and the new Stop & Shop on the city’s west side, as well as facade improvements on Park Street and the Veeder Place and ArtSpace projects.

Shelly Sindland of Fox 61, who also keeps a blog, interviewed Peters (below) shortly after he revealed he was fighting liver disease. He will be missed by many.

2 Responses to “Mayor Mike Passes”

  1. Heather Brandon http://urbancompass.net

    Mayor Eddie Perez’s office issued a release late this afternoon stating the following:

    Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez has requested that the City flag be flown at half-staff in honor of the passing of former Mayor Mike Peters. Mayor Mike died last night after a battle with liver disease.

    Also Mayor Perez will propose that Engine 15, the Firehouse on the corner of Fairfield and New Britain Avenues, be named after Mayor Peters in recognition of his outstanding public service to the City he loved so much. Prior to becoming Mayor, Mike Peters bravely served with the Hartford Fire Department for more than 22 years.

    As of this writing, funeral services are still being finalized.

  2. Heather Brandon http://urbancompass.net

    The mayor’s office issued another release this morning (below) regarding calling hours and ceremonial details for Mayor Mike’s funeral.

    REMEMBERING MAYOR MIKE

    (January 7, 2009) Mayor Eddie A. Perez will be one of hundreds of people expected to pay their last respects to former Mayor Mike Peters, who lost his battle on Sunday to liver and kidney ailments at the age of 60.

    Calling hours are today from 3 to 8 p.m. at the D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, 277 Folly Brook Boulevard in Wethersfield.

    Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 8th, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine Church, 10 Campfield Avenue in Hartford’s South End. Because Mayor Peters served for more than 22-years with the Hartford Fire Department, firefighters and police officers will line up along the entrance of the church to offer a salute and an engine company fire apparatus will be in the procession. A tower ladder with the United State flag hanging from the top will be positioned at the entrance of the church. This will be the same tower ladder that gave Mayor Mike a ride on the last day of his term as Mayor.

    After the funeral services, the process will go north on Webster Street, West on New Britain Avenue and South on Fairfield so that it can go by Company 15’s house and firefighters will salute as the procession passes. This is the fire house that Mayor Perez has recommended to be dedicated and named after Mayor Peters for his years of service. Mayor Mike retired from this very station. The facility will also turn 100-years-old this year.

    Burial will be at Cedar Hill Cemetery, where firefighters and police will stand at attention as the symbol of a “man down” is rung on the bell from a fire truck. This is the same ringing of the bell that is offered during the September 11th ceremonies (5-5-5-5).

    City of Hartford flags are still flying at half-staff in Mayor Mike’s memory. The City flag will remain lowered until after the burial ceremony on Thursday.

    “Hartford and surrounding communities have come together this week to share memories, raise a glass, but most importantly, reflect upon Mayor Mike’s personal contributions through public service. Whether he bravely fought a fire, or fought for legislation to benefit Hartford, the residents of this great city were always near and dear to his heart,” says Mayor Perez.

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