The eldest brother of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a former Baltimore mayor, Thomas D’Alesandro III, died Sunday at the age of 90 due to complications from a stroke, his family said.
D’Alesandro was mayor of Baltimore during a tumultuous period in the city’s history between 1967 and 1971 that saw racial tension and worker strikes, but also a growth in public housing and education.
“Tommy was the finest public servant I have ever known,” Pelosi said in a statement about her brother’s passing. “His life and leadership were a tribute to the Catholic values with which we were raised: faith, family, patriotism. He profoundly believed, as did our parents, that public service was a noble calling and that we all had a responsibility to help others.”
Thomas D’ Alesandro III, seen here in 2007, died Sunday from stroke complications.
(AP Photo/Chris Gardner, File)
She added: “Tommy dedicated his life to our city. A champion of civil rights, he worked tirelessly for all who called Baltimore home. Tommy was a leader of dignity, compassion and extraordinary courage, whose presence radiated hope upon our city during times of struggle and conflict.
“All his life, Tommy worked on the side of the angels. Now, he is with them. With his commitment to his family and public service, his life has truly blessed America.”
He started his tenure as mayor pledging to “root out every cause or vestige of discrimination,” the Baltimore Sun reported. However, racial tension remained high; riots after the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 killed six people and injured hundreds more. The paper notes that D’Alesandro did bring on city officials who “continue to play major roles in Baltimore’s civic life.” He worked as an attorney after he left City Hall.
D’Alesandro’s death at his home in Baltimore came only a few days after the city lost another one of its longtime politicians, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Cummings died Thursday at 68 due to complications from longstanding health problems. He was a powerful committee chairman, civil rights leader and passionate advocate for the poor in his Baltimore-area district.
Cummings’ body will lie in state in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol next week, officials have said.
Pelosi’s office said in a news release that a formal ceremony open to members of Congress, the Cummings family and invited guests will be held Thursday morning, followed by a public viewing.
A wake and funeral for Cummings is planned for the following day at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, where he worshipped for nearly four decades.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.