Kevin H. White, dead at 82

White statue, by Peter E. Lee. Used under this Creative Commons license.Photo by Peter E. Lee. Used under this Creative Commons license.

Former Mayor Kevin White died at home tonight, surrounded by his family, Associated Press reports.

In his 16 years in office, "the loner in love with his city" presided over a Boston undergoing dramatic, often painful change, from the rebirth of large parts of downtown to the 1974 busing crisis.

White also famously helped forestall rioting after the death of Martin Luther King by convincing (and paying) James Brown to not cancel a scheduled concert at the Garden the night after King's assassination in 1968 - and by having it shown live on TV. Four years later, he again forestalled rioting by helping to bail out Mick Jagger and Keith Richards after they'd been arrested for a fight at TF Green Airport before a concert at the Garden.

White, commemorated by a larger-than-life statue across from City Hall, once even dreamed of running for president. Toward the end of his tenure, he famously pranked Herald columnist Peter Lucas, who had taken to calling him "Mayor DeLuxe" by getting Lucas to run a front-page column, based on "sources," that White would run for re-election. White then held a press conference to announce he wasn't running for re-election.

Globe obituary. Peter Gelzinis remembers White.

Some Kevin White photos.

Tom Menino:

My thoughts and prayers are with the White family tonight. Mayor Kevin White was a great friend and a great leader. He will be sorely missed.

Councilor Ayanna Pressley:

God bless Kevin White and his family. Boston under Mayor White made great strides. We are all better for his compassion, courage & decency.

Twitter discussion.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

    Comments

    OMG!Kevin was celebrated

    OMG!

    Kevin was celebrated (rightfully so) for beginning the "new Boston" which was responsible for bringing new industries to the city as it moved away from the old blue-collar jobs.

    Perhaps a more telling picture of his character was his stewardship of the city during school integration in the 1970's. Former Globe newspaper columnist Alan Lupo recounts the summer before "Phase 1" busing began as the Mayor scrambled to minimize potential widespread violence during that very heated time in "Liberty's chosen home".

    A giant among men

    By on

    It takes a lot to understand a city, to know what makes it tick and to know what it takes to keep it moving. Kevin White understood. He also knew that the city is an organism made up of many different types of people and he understood those types people. He was probably the first mayor of all of Boston in a very long time when he was elected. He certainly came at the right time. Our city, as we know it today, would not exist without him.

    Kevin White

    By on

    I used to work nights on Charles Street during the late 70's, and I would see him walking, through his city.

    Good evening, Mr. Mayor.

    No, his dad was

    By on

    Kevin White was Mass. Secretary of State before he was mayor. His father, Joseph, was a member of the CIty Council.

    Ahhh, yes...I remember Mayor Kevin H. White.

    By on

    He certain was an icon, although he sometimes bit off more than he was able to chew, at times.

    As for the school busing crisis, that was a tough time for lots of people, including Mayor Kevin White.

    Although I didn't know Mayor Kevin H. White personally, my thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this tine

    I used to work in an office

    at 30 Winter back in the day with my girlfriend at the time. In nice weather, we'd smoke dope in the Common at lunch and every once in a while the Mayor would come strolling through the park, usually by himself. He would walk with the confidence of a man who knew he owned the town.My girlfriend would always yell;

    "Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor!'

    To which he would always reply..

    "Awww...and a good afternoon to you, dahlin"

    I loved that guy. RIP.

    He did some very

    By on

    Cool, progressive things for our city to make it more of a destination. I always appreciated the great Summerthing arts events at local parks in the 70's. Remember seeing some wonderful dance performances then, for free!