PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A prominent Rhode Island political figure who passed away this week will be laid to rest on Tuesday, according to a longtime friend.
Former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino said Mark Weiner’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Aug. 2 at Temple Beth-El in Providence.
Paolino and Weiner were friends for decades, since they were students at La Salle Academy, the former mayor said. Paolino is currently in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.
“To have one of his closest friends of over 40 years be nominated as the first woman to run for president from a major party was very important to Mark Weiner,” Paolino said in a phone interview from Philadelphia.
Weiner, a longtime Democratic fundraiser and close friend of the Clinton Family, passed away Tuesday after a battle with Leukemia. The East Greenwich native was 62.
During his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Former President Bill Clinton mentioned that he and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, cried together when they learned of Weiner’s passing.
“Proud,” Paolino said when asked how he felt during that moment. “To have Bill Clinton mention him, it meant that Mark Weiner was in that convention hall with us,” he said. “I could hear Mark saying to me, ‘isn’t that cool? The President of the United States mentioned me.'”
Paolino confirmed that President Clinton will speak during the funeral services. Judge Frank Caprio and Paolino himself are also expected to address the crowd. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Gov. Michael Dukakis, James Carville and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe are also planning to attend, Paolino said.
Paolino said Weiner, who had faced a number of health challenges over the years, died at a Newport home owned by Paolino where he’d been staying with his family for the summer. He’d been planning to depart for the convention before his death.
Clinton quietly flew into Newport about two weeks ago to visit Weiner and spent about five hours with him, according to Paolino.
Weiner is a former Rhode Island Democratic Party chairman and founder of a successful company that makes campaign paraphernalia for parties and candidates. He continued his support for the Clintons this year, raising more than $100,000 for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and hosting a fundraiser she attended at his East Greenwich home just last year.
The Rhode Island Democratic Party had named Weiner as one of its delegates to this week’s convention, where Clinton was formally nominated. His son, Richard Weiner, is now at the DNC in his father’s place.
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Several Rhode Island politicians, including Governor Gina Raimondo and Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, are also expected to attend his funeral.Ted Nesi contributed to this report.