Romney did not speak during the service Thursday, but stopped briefly to talk with reporters after going through the receiving line.
“A man of character and vision who brought a level of dignity to this building that will not soon be forgotten. His contributions in public safety, in caring for those that were the victims of crime, in improving our school system through education reform, and in reducing the burden on taxpayers. All those contributions will long be remembered by a truly great governor and great friend,” Romney said.
Asked whether the Massachusetts Republican Party has leaders in the mold of Cellucci who could carry on his legacy, Romney said, “He’s a unique character. He’s one of a kind.”
The remembrances were hardly limited to Republicans, and the room was filled with prominent Democrats, including Congressman Ed Markey, former Senate presidents Bill Bulger, Tom Birmingham and Robert Travaglini, former Speaker Tom Finneran, former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and former Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry along with Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo, who served as master of ceremonies.
“A former member of the House, he paid attention to us and treated us all with great respect,” said DeLeo, who said he and Cellucci would eat together at Italian restaurants in the North End and played bocce ball.
DeLeo also ribbed Weld over a story that the Yankee from Cambridge ordered milk with his pasta rather than wine when he dined at the downtown eatery Marliave. DeLeo said, “It was Paul Cellucci who taught Bill Weld how to eat pasta and most importantly what to drink with it. Milk, governor? Really?”
Weld praised Cellucci’s handsome looks, saying “the spirit informs the flesh,” and what he said was Cellucci’s deep intellect. At Saturday budget review sessions, Cellucci would summarize the situation succinctly and say what needed to be done about it, Weld said.