Though respected for his ability to craft policy and pore over the city budget, "Joe's legacy really was working very hard for constituents," Flynn said.
"He was deeply committed to anyone who called on the phone," said Flynn, who knew Mr. Tierney since childhood, having grown up in a different South Boston neighborhood. "Anybody who called up, he'd go to bat for them and try to help them as best he could."
That was true for family members, too, said his son, Joseph, of Milton.
"He was just a phone call away for anything from a question about your house to advice on a relationship," he said. "Anything we needed, he'd help us get it."
Also, unlike those for whom law school and elective office are excuses to set aside a humble past, "the thing I remember as if it were yesterday is that Joe never forgot where he came from," said Larry DiCara, a lawyer with the Boston firm Nixon Peabody who was elected alongside Mr. Tierney in 1971, each to a first council term. "That came through time and time again."
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