Sam Massell, the first Jewish mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, has died at 94, the city announced.
Massell, who was mayor from 1970 to 1974, died of natural causes, CNN reported. He was the city’s only Jewish mayor.
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former mayor and my friend Sam Massell," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said.
Dickens said that Massell’s "impact on our city was immeasurable," said Dickens.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp also commented on Massell’s passing, saying that he joined "the Massell family and all Atlanta in mourning [Massell’s] passing.”
"As we remember his lasting impact and his dedicated service, we ask that our fellow Georgians also keep his family in their hearts & prayers," Kemp tweeted.
Dickens lauded Massell’s term as mayor for improving public transit and striving to increase the participation of minorities and women in politics.
"He laid the groundwork for [the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority] – which connected neighborhoods and residents across our city – and he paved the way for better representation of women and minority participation in City government," Dickens said.
Massell was known for hiring the first Black person to run a city department and for appointing the first woman to Atlanta City Council.
A funeral ceremony was held Wednesday at Atlanta’s The Temple synagogue.
"Sam Massell elevated our whole community. He did not hide behind his desk; he was a mayor of the people,” Rabbi Peter Berg said, according to 11Alive.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)