Theodore Pelosi Jr. led the city during the late 1980s and early 1990s — challenging times when the Police Department came under heavy scrutiny because the chief's son, a detective with the force, was charged in a regional drug ring.
During his time as mayor, Pelosi also faced financial problems that hit Haverhill hard, with the new Hale Hospital falling into deep debt and the city searching for ways to keep its budget balanced.
But through it all, Pelosi was strong and did the best he could for Haverhill, his political colleagues said.
Pelosi died early yesterday morning at Merrimack Valley Hospital after a brief bout with cancer. He was 85.
Pelosi was mayor for six years and City Council president for 20 years before that. He was mayor from 1988 to 1993.
"He was an honest, trustworthy man who worked hard for the city," said City Councilor William Macek, who served on the council when Pelosi was president. "He was a teacher and a mentor to me who was respectful of everyone. You couldn't ask for a better mayor. He was a trustworthy and dependable individual."
"He would never just shoot down ideas," said Councilor Robert Scatamacchia, who served on the council with Pelosi from 1980 to 1983. "He would always work with us to find solutions instead."
Calling hours will be at Farmer and Sons funeral home in Bradford today from 4 to 7:30 p.m. The funeral will be Thursday at Sacred Hearts Church.
Pelosi's son, Francis Pelosi, said the things his father cared about most were his family and the city.
"He always put the city ahead of his political career," Francis Pelosi said. "Even if it was an unpopular decision among the citizens, he always did what he thought was best for the City of Haverhill."
Pelosi was asked several times to consider running for state office, according to his son. Instead, he chose to stay in Haverhill and continue working with the city he lived in his entire life.