Residents of the city of Brockton paid final respects to Bill Carpenter Thursday after the three-term mayor's unexpected death last week.
Carpenter's body lay in repose on from noon to 6 p.m. at Brockton City Hall. By the early afternoon, more than 1,000 mourners had come to say goodbye.
Dji Dji Montiero broke down in tears while standing in line. The Brockton resident said Carpenter was an advocate to her and the Cape Verdean community.
“I don’t know if he can be replaced in this city,” Montiero said. “But Mayor Carpenter, we love you and thank you for your service.”
The mayor’s chief of staff said Carpenter’s legacy will live on in the projects he started, including new market rate housing and downtown development.
“It will be very easy to remember Bill. All you have to do is look around and see the progress he’s made and his legacy will be preserved,” Nick Giaquinto said.
Carpenter was a leader in fighting the opioid crisis. Those who knew him hope whoever takes over as mayor will continue his vision for Brockton.
“He wanted to help others. He was so selfless and he did it all with a smile,” said Darren Duarte, who used to work with the mayor.
A funeral for Carpenter will be held Friday in the Brockton High School auditorium.
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Carpenter was pronounced dead July 3 after being found unresponsive in his car outside a school, where he had just dropped off a family member for a summer program.
No official cause of death has been released.
The 62-year-old Carpenter underwent a heart procedure earlier this year, but had returned to work and was planning to run for a fourth term as mayor in November.
“He was the best thing for Brockton,” family friend Linda Melchione said. “and he will be forever missed.”