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Local News

June 14, 2013

At Statehouse, final respects paid to late Gov. Paul Cellucci

(Continued)

Early into Patrick’s first term, which began in 2007, Cellucci reached out and asked Patrick to play golf with him, an outing in the Berkshires that Patrick said offered an “insight” into Cellucci’s character.

“Mostly we talked. I kept wondering what his agenda was, but as far as I could ever tell there was none,” Patrick said. “We talked about politics, and governing, about families and careers and life after governing, and then some more about politics and governing.”

Cellucci advised the new governor not to lose control of his schedule, according to Patrick, and “underscored the point by telling me about the time, when, as governor, he showed up to cut the ribbon on a new ATM.”

American-bound planes were diverted to Canada, immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and then Ambassador Cellucci and his wife Jan traveled from Halifax to Vancouver, thanking all of the places in Canada that had allowed the planes to land, said Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States.

“He was pretty dignified but very blunt,” Doer said, recalling Cellucci’s continuous lobbying for Canada to purchase its own C-17 aircraft so the Canadians could stop “hitch-hiking” on American planes. Doer said Cellucci’s “nudge” eventually won out as the country has ordered the planes.

“Just another example of Paul Cellucci putting the puck in the net,” Doer said.

From the House chamber, family, dignitaries, current and former elected officials made their way to black curtain-draped Hall of Flags where the coffin laid in repose. On the stairway down, Romney stood chatting with Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) and Weld talked with Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford).

“I told Weld today, he’s my favorite after Cellucci,” Montigny told the News Service.

Andy Card, a state representative from Holbrook before becoming chief of staff to President George W. Bush, said Cellucci cared for everyone. Card was one of the three other Republicans in the House that Cellucci immediately bonded with, including Andrew Natsios and Leon Lombardi.

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