MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mourners gathered at Miami City Hall in Miami on Thursday morning to bid farewell to former City of Miami Mayor Maurice Ferré.

The day started with a long procession of vehicles, including police cruisers and motorcycles escorting the former mayor’s casket.

The casket was ushered alongside family members and dignitaries representing the government he helped shape.

Puerto Rico-born Ferré, Miami’s first Hispanic mayor was remembered as a visionary for the imprint he left on his adopted city, the Miami we know today.

In his own words, there was a tribute video that began the ceremony highlighting over a decade of accomplishments.

“What I’m doing in Miami effort time energy and sacrifice that it requires I wouldn’t do this anywhere else,” said Ferré in the old interview clip.

Ferré first served in the Florida House of Representatives before being elected Mayor in 1973. He served 12 years as head of Miami City government.

From the banking community to biotech and medicine to expansions from Brickell to Bayside, under his tenure, Miami was transformed into an International City, the gateway to Latin America.

“All these things are products of my imagination,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

“He made you be at your best,” said Suarez.

Suarez offered his reflection about the man who he said paved the way for him, Ferré and advocate for a diverse and dynamic city, taking steps to overcome racism completely changing the percentage of minorities in all levels within government to reflect the community they served.

“He never lost sight of the most vulnerable in our society he treated them with respect but more importantly he fought for them,” said Suarez.

In his own words, it’s how Ferré wanted to be remembered by the people he served.

“As a person that loved Miami, and took public service seriously and tried my best,” he said in an old interview.

Ferré died last week after a battle with spinal cancer, he was 84 years old.

Rielle Creighton

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