Thousands of admirers of Buddy Cianci streamed to City Hall Saturday and Sunday, during a two-day public wake, to pay their respects to the storied former mayor of Providence.
Rick Simone, a former Cianci aide, estimated that 3,500 people turned out by mid-afternoon Sunday, about the same number that came to see the former mayor lying in respose during six hours on Saturday.
Simone said a possibly heavy snowfall on Monday will not change the timing of Cianci's 10 am funeral at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, although some minor alterations to the funeral procession are possible.
On Saturday, people began lining up outside City Hall before the doors opened at noon. Like other mourners, Joe Iacoi of Westerly remembers Cianci more for improving Providence than for the felony convictions that twice forced him from office.
"I think Buddy had many good things that outweighed a couple of issues that we all know about," Iacoi said. "I think the man was just a genuine individual. We’ll never see anyone like him again."
Chris Ceprano remembers Cianci from a speech the former mayor gave 21 years ago.
"When I was in the Marines, he came to my Marine unit, and I’ve always felt he’s been a great mayor since then, and actually, I was hoping he would get back into office," Ceprano said.
After serving more than 20 years as mayor during two separate stints, Cianci lost his last comeback attempt, in 2014, to Jorge Elorza.
Cianci died late last month, at age 74.
As of Sunday evening, Mayor Jorge Elorza's communications director, Evan England, had not responded to a request made Friday by RI Public Radio on the city's costs for the two-day wake and the procession on Monday.