HARTFORD -- Former Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry died nearly a year ago according to paperwork on file at Waterbury City Hall. .
Perry served from 1987 to 1993. She was the first African American woman elected mayor of a major Northeast city. Perry's death certificate indicates she died almost a year ago, November 22, 2018.
Even close friends were left in the dark.
Thirman L. Milner -- the first African American mayor in New England- stood by Perry’s side for years and said he was just told recently of her death.
He said a family friend shared Perry's relatives wanted to keep her death a secret, but wishes he and the city had been notified so they could have honored her memory.
“If she was dead there’s no reason not to let the public know, she should have had proper burial service, even if she was cremated, they should have just let City Hall know, let me know, let her friends know,” Milner said.
She died at Waterbury Hospital of a myocardial infarction, a heart attack, and kidney and heart disease. She was 87 at the time.
There was no explanation for the delay of notification.
State Treasurer Shawn Wooden said in a statement:
A fierce, outspoken and passionate champion for the City she loved—Mayor Perry understood the City’s potential and the potential of its people, especially those often marginalized in society. She blazed trails and broke barriers as the first African American woman mayor of a major city in the Northeast, focusing her three-term tenure on breaking cycles of poverty, violence and inequity.
I’ll always be grateful to Mayor Perry for taking a chance on me—an idealist and eager kid from the North End, fresh out of college with lots of ideas about politics as a means to improving communities. She gave me my first seat at the table, where she taught important lessons on leadership, integrity and the relentless work required to make positive change.