Singular politician Buddy Cianci to be laid to rest

Printed from:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Buddy Cianci, the wisecracking politician who led the city of Providence during a turbulent and troubled six terms as mayor, will be laid to rest in an event as big as his personality.

The former mayor will be carried through the streets of the city he loved by horse-drawn carriage on Monday, accompanied by the police department’s mounted command. They will escort him to the Roman Catholic cathedral, where the Bishop of Providence will preside over his funeral. He will then be driven slowly through one of his favorite neighborhoods, where residents have been encouraged to wave a final salute as he leaves the city for the last time.

“This has got Buddy’s fingerprints all over it. We think this is what he’d want. Bigger is always better,” saidCianci’s nephew, Brad Turchetta. If Cianci had his way, Turchetta said, “he would want it broadcast in 46 countries.”

Cianci died Jan. 28 at age 74. He served 21 years in office and was the city’s longest-serving mayor.

Since his death, Cianci has been remembered as one of America’s most colorful and skilled retail politicians, who became known nationally for one-liners, endless TV appearances and his own brand of pasta sauce. But he also is known as someone who was deeply flawed and presided over years of widespread corruption.

The Republican-turned-independent was forced from office twice. The first time was in 1984 after he pleaded no contest to assaulting a man he believed was sleeping with his ex-wife. He used a fireplace log, ashtray and lit cigarette and was aided by a city police officer.

He made a comeback in 1990, but was brought down again in 2002 with his conviction in a federal investigation into corruption. Cianci was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and spent 4 ½ years in prison.

Cianci’s cause of death still has not been released, but he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments and surgery.

— Written by Michelle R. Smith