PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr., who presided over the renaissance of Rhode Island’s capital city but was twice was forced from City Hall following felony convictions, died Thursday. He was 74 years old.
Eyewitness News spoke with Buddy Cianci’s nephew Brad Turchetta about the impact his uncle had on his life. He said Cianci’s death came as a shock to everyone.
According to Turchetta, his favorite memory of his uncle was when Cianci came to stay with him in East Greenwich when he was released from federal prison after serving time for racketeering.
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“After he got out of, as he would call his ‘gated community’- federally mandated gated community – we would stay up late and he would talk to me,” Turchetta recalled. “He would tell me stories about Providence’s past and the history of Providence, and as he would say ‘the future of Providence lies in its history.'”
“He loved the city. He wouldn’t stop talking about it. It was so much fun to hear him tell me things I never knew about Providence even though I’m a lifelong resident of Rhode Island,” Turchetta continued. “And about how he would do things, and his love of the city never changed. I think his love of his family was slightly greater, and to him, the two never differed. The city, and his family.”
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Turchetta said the outpouring of support from the community following Cianci’s death is helpful in coping with the loss.
“It dulls the sting a little bit, with all the nice things people say, and texts, and things online,” he said. “It’s nice that he affected so many people.”
According to Turchetta, Cianci was a family man – and that’s how he wants him to be remembered.
“The consummate family man. He loved his family,” he said. “Our Christmases are celebrated on Federal Hill for a reason, he wanted to show us where his grandfather came over.”
Cianci’s family plans to hold a public memorial at a large venue in the city, then hold a Catholic church service. Right now, the dates and locations are not definitive.
The former mayor will be laid to rest at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Cranston.