Public visitation for Buddy Cianci underway

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Family, friends and the public turned out Saturday to pay their respects to former Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr.

Public visitation was held this weekend and Cianci, who died last week at the age of 74, will be laid to rest Monday morning.

According to Cianci’s longtime press secretary Beryl Kenyon, Cianci’s body will lie in repose in front of the mayor’s office in Providence City Hall from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, a line formed outside as mourners gathered to say goodbye to Cianci. At one point, the line was about as long as once city block.

As the afternoon stretched on, the crowds thinned out.

“I wanted to pay my respect to the man I feel as though is Providence,” said Sylvia Oliver. “And that’s Buddy Cianci.”

Oliver said Cianci always felt like a friend, not just a mayor.

“Oh I’ll miss him so much,” she said. “I can’t even hardly think about how much I’ll miss him.”

Cianci’s casket was positioned outside of the mayor’s office and was surrounded by roses. It was flanked by his official portrait, which was unveiled last year.

John Kreiger said that, like his portrait, Cianci’s legacy will live on.

“He’s all around. Evidence of his love for the city and love for the people,” he said.

For many, like Elena and Bob Harootunian, Saturday was a day to say farewell to a former boss and friend.

“I felt the need to come and say goodbye,” Elena said. “It’s been great to be able to see what a wonderful mayor he was. We will not see another like him.”

The couple met while working for Cianci during his first stint as mayor. He later married and had children. Bob said he served with Cianci in the military and joined him at City Hall in 1975.

“This was his life, he loved the city. He ate, slept and drank Providence,” he said.

Before the public visitation began Saturday, there was a private ceremony for close friends, family and dignitaries. Mayor Jorge Elorza, Congressman Jim Langevin and Senator Jack Reed were all in attendance.

On Monday, Cianci’s casket will be taken to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul by horse-drawn carriage. His funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Bishop Thomas Tobin will preside over the Mass of Christian burial.

At approximately 11:15 a.m., the procession will leave the cathedral and head for St. Ann’s Cemetery in Cranston. At the request of Cianci’s family, burial services will be private.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations in Buddy’s memory may be made to the Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. Library and Research Center, P.O. Box 6184, Providence, RI  02940.

After his death, Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered state flags lowered during the funeral period in honor of Providence’s longest-serving mayor.

Raimondo’s office confirmed Friday that she will attend Cianci’s funeral on Monday.RIPTA routes detoured for Cianci’s funeral

Twelve bus routes will be detoured and bus stops relocated to accommodate the funeral procession for Cianci Monday morning.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority says the procession will affect Routes 1, 3, 6, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 30, 31, 92 and the R-Line.

They will be rerouted to avoid the area from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.

LIVE COVERAGE: Eyewitness News will bring you live coverage of Cianci’s Funeral Mass and procession Monday starting at 8 a.m. on WPRI 12 and WPRI.com

Read the full obituary for former Providence Mayor Vincent ‘Buddy’ Cianci »

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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