Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro III died of stroke complications at the age of 90 in his home in North Baltimore on Sunday.
D'Alesandro's sister, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, issued a statement saying their entire family was "devastated" by his death and remembering him as the "finest public servant" she has ever known.
"His life and leadership were a tribute to the Catholic values with which we were raised: faith, family patriotism. He profoundly believed as did our parents, that public service was a noble calling and that we all had a responsibility to help others," she said.
D'Alesandro's political career began in 1956 when he earned a seat on the Board of Elections Supervisors after Graduating from University of Maryland Law School and serving in the Army.
He then became president of the Baltimore City Council in 1962 and successfully ran for mayor in 1967.
D'Alesandro presided over the city during the 1968 riots that followed the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which left six people dead and 700 injured.
He also oversaw the approval of an $80 million bond issue to build new schools, the construction of a new police headquarters and pushed for open housing.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. Young said D'Alesandro "guided the city at a tumultuous time" and made important strides while in office.
"He will always be remembered for his commitment to and love for Baltimore.
D'Alesandro's son said his father carried "strong beliefs" that people "should contribute to the times in which they live."
"I was consistently astonished by his incredible generosity. I can't recall how many times he foot the bill during get-togethers with other people," he said.