William Small, 84, Retired Paver, Dorchester, Mass.*

*Thomas “Mumbles” Menino, 71, left office on January 6 as the longest-serving mayor in Boston’s history.

Menino – verbally and physically clumsy, oft-hospitalized, and beloved – mentioned several times toward the end of his fifth and final term that his biggest worry upon rejoining the civilian population would be getting around the city’s notoriously labyrinthine streets without a cop to drive him for the first time in 20 years.

“There was a button to turn on the engine!“ Menino told The Boston Globe last month after giving his new Lexus SUV a spin. He might as well have been describing a flying saucer. "A button to call somebody! I kept looking for the clutch!”

Toward the end of the piece, the Globe struck terror into the hearts of Menino’s future fellow commuters with these chilling lines: "Menino has been contemplating another amenity. He has been talking about buying an iPhone and could listen to music or audio books while stuck in traffic. Menino could learn how to send an e-mail or text message, which would be a first.”

When I told Mr. Small that all of this was why I was crouching behind his truck taking pictures, he thought it was pretty funny. Not as funny as I found it, but still pretty funny.

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Thomas Menino, whose folksy manner and verbal gaffes belied his shrewd political tactics to govern as Boston’s longest-serving mayor and one of its most beloved, died Thursday. He was 71. Spokeswoman Dot Joyce said in a statement that Menino died in the company of his family and friends. He was diagnosed with advanced cancer in February 2014, shortly after leaving office, and announced Oct. 23 he was suspending treatment and a book tour so he could spend more time with family and friends.

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