Mourners pay tribute to former A.C. mayor Jim Whelan

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Mourners came from all over the Delaware Valley to pay tribute to Former Atlantic City mayor Jim Whelan.

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said, "Whale" loved this city and we and a generations to come will be better because of him."

"He did things for people who barely knew his name. He made life better for residents of Atlantic City, residents of South Jersey," Former Pa. Governor Ed Rendell said.

Whelan died of a heart attack on August 22. His wife Kathy, and son Richie were joined by family and a large crowd that filed through the cavernous hall to pay their respects and remember him.

Casino Control Commissioner Alisa Cooper said, "My dear, dear friend is not with us anymore. I can only say Jim, where ever you are, Rest In Peace."

"He was one of the good guys. The guy that would do the simplest thing, unusual thing," William Cheatham of Atlantic City, NJ said.

Resorts President and CEO Mark Giannantonio said, "Jim was a great champion of the gaming industry, but it was even broader than that. He loved Atlantic City."

Whelan grew up in West Philadelphia, attending Saint Francis DeSales grammar school. Among the mourners today, were two nuns from his old school.

Sr. Jeannette Lucy of St. Francis DeSales said, "I guess every teacher hopes that for their students that they will go out and make a difference, and Jim Whelan really made a difference here, it's evident."

To recognize his decades of public service, there's legislation now being introduced to honor Sen. Jim Whelan by naming the famous Boardwalk Hall in his memory.

NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney said, "Jim was Mr. Atlantic City and this is the most iconic building here. So I spoke to Governor Christie, he was supportive of it."

It was a lasting tribute to a man who personified public service.

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