June 7, 2004
On June 1, over 5000 New Jersey citizens mourned the death of Jersey City mayor and state Senator Glenn D. Cunningham. Cunningham, who was 60 years old, died of a massive heart attack on May 25. Cunningham was elected as Jersey City's first African-American mayor in 2001. He was first elected to public office in 1981 as a member of the Jersey City city council, and became city council president in 1985.
Conference President Hempstead (NY) Mayor James A. Garner attended the funeral service held on June 1, as did several New Jersey mayors, including Doug Palmer of Trenton, Sharpe James of Newark, Wayne Smith of Irvington, and Robert Bowser of East Orange.
In a statement on behalf of the nation's mayors, Garner said, "It is with deep regret that I extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Mayor Glenn Cunningham. Mayor Cunningham was a man of firsts, and, to him, we owe a debt of gratitude for his public service. The citizens of New Jersey are the beneficiaries of the doors he opened through his genuine commitment to others. We will keep his family, as well as the residents of Jersey City, in our thoughts and prayers as they experience this difficult time."
Also in attendance was the New Jersey Governor and former Mayor James McGreevey. "He touched us all by his virtue, his faith, his example. Glenn crossed the great divide. Glenn ran his race. He did it with dignity. He did it with courage," said McGreevey.
City Council President L. Harvey Smith will serve as acting mayor until the city council names an interim mayor to serve until the special election in November.