Criticism, however, was difficult to find Thursday.
Christine Poff, executive director of the Franklin Park Coalition, recalled the mayor’s keen interest in improving that jewel of the Emerald Necklace. Menino liked to ride with her in a golf cart as they toured the park and floated ideas.
“He’s hearing you and mulling it over, and a couple of months later, he’d call me on my cellphone and ask, ‘What do you think of this?’ ” Poff said. “That’s kind of amazing. I’m just a Boston resident who runs a nonprofit.”
Now, Poff said, Franklin Park “is a gathering place for people of all different backgrounds, every race in Boston, every age, and many neighborhoods.”
Kim LaDue, 54, a lawyer who lives in Charlestown, once took a math class with Menino at UMass Boston. She praised his work to bring more people and activity to the city.
“He supports new businesses, and construction has gone up,” she said. “It’s allowed more people to live in the city more comfortably.”
John Rosenthal, a developer in Boston and social activist, knows Menino on many levels, from Rosenthal’s work on homelessness, gun control, and Fenway Center, a $450 million mixed-use proposal for air space over the Massachusetts Turnpike.
“On homelessness and gun violence, he’s been a passionate advocate,” said Rosenthal, who founded Stop Handgun Violence, the group responsible for the massive gun-control billboard near Fenway Park.
In his development dealings with Menino, Rosenthal said, the mayor has always been concerned about the grass-roots impact.
“If the neighborhood was supportive, he would be supportive if he thought it would be good for the city in general,” he said.
That all-politics-is-local ethos is nowhere more evident than on Menino’s home turf, the Readville section of Hyde Park.
Residents there reflected on Menino the neighbor, the man who shoveled snow from his driveway and sidewalks, offered condolences to families who lost loved ones, and held crowded summertime barbecues.
Directly across from the mayor’s Chesterfield Street house, Pais teared up when she recalled how the mayor reached out when her father died. Menino sent her family two cooked turkeys and fixings for the wake, she said, and then returned early from a trip to attend the funeral.
“I’m heartbroken he’s not going to run again,” Pais said.
Brian Ballou of the Globe staff and correspondents Matt Rocheleau, Patrick D. Rosso, and Johanna Kaiser contributed to this report. Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at email@example.com.