JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – City and state leaders paid tribute to the life of Tommy Haziouri following his death on Saturday at the age of 76.
“Our city mourns the loss of a true Jacksonville champion,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted. “Tommy, I will always value your friendship, leadership, and passion for our community. You will be dearly missed. Godspeed, my friend. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with your family.”
Our city mourns the loss of a true Jacksonville champion. Tommy, I will always value your friendship, leadership, and passion for our community. You will be dearly missed. Godspeed, my friend. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with your family. pic.twitter.com/RYoDwagxFY— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) September 11, 2021
Fellow councilman Rory Diamond also paid his respects on Twitter.
“RIP, Tommy Hazouri. Praying for you and your family. What a life,” Diamond wrote.
Sam Newby creditsed his city council presidency to Hazouri. Newby said he taught him everything he knows, adding he doesn’t know of anyone else who has done as much for Jacksonville.
“Tommy was one of Jacksonville’s greatest citizens,” Newby said.
Hazouri served on the Duval County School Board for eight years.
Vicki Drake, a former school board member, said he always did the best he could for Jacksonville.
“When he was on the board he took the job as serious as he did mayor,” Drake said.
Betty Burney, who served on the Duval County School Board with Hazouri for eight years, has fond memories of him.
“I was his school board wife and he was my school board husband,” Burney said. “A lot of our talk was the city of Jacksonville, and just what we wanted to see for this city.”
John Peyton, former mayor of Jacksonville said, he doesn’t think we’ll ever see as good of a public servant again.
“He’ll be missed. It’s hard to imagine our political landscape without Tommy,” Peyton said.
Peyton said he was passionate about this community.
“Tommy was easy to be around, just a kindred spirit, great source of curiosity and human instinct,” Peyton said.
Former mayor John Delaney said he remembers running against Hazouri for mayor in 1995. They became friends.
“I backed him and everything he’s wanting to do, and we’ve socialized together go out with our wives, it was just a quirk opposite parties in a race,” Delaney said. “Normally, you get bad blood in that kind of scenario when the opposite happened with us.”
“Loved people very, very loyal,” Delaney said. “He was sort of a populist as a politician, but he also was not afraid to buck popular opinion, and make enemies.”
The leader of the Duval County Democratic Party issued a statement, praising his class and integrity.
“One of our city’s greatest leaders and proudest Democrats, City Councilman and former Mayor Tommy Hazouri, has passed today,” Chairman Daniel Henry said. “Words cannot express the deepest gratitude and honor we have for him. Tommy exuded class, integrity, dignity, a fighter spirit, and a love for our city. Duval Dems and the residents of Jacksonville are forever grateful for his dedicated service to our community. Our deepest sympathy and prayers are with his family. Rest in Power.”
Former Florida governor and current U.S. representative also paid tribute to Hazouri.
“Tommy Hazouri was a friend, a leader and a gentleman. He was committed to his community, his family, and public service. I’ll miss him greatly but he’s in a better place. God bless you buddy,” Crist wrote on Twitter.
Tommy Hazouri was a friend, a leader and a gentleman. He was committed to his community, his family, and public service. I’ll miss him greatly but he’s in a better place. God bless you buddy.— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) September 11, 2021
“The City of Jacksonville has lost a tremendous force for good in our community,” former Jacksonville sheriff and U.S. representative John Rutherford tweeted. “Mayor Tommy Hazouri committed himself to making Jacksonville a great place to work, play, and raise a family. He was a personal friend and longtime supporter of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”
Chris Hand, former chief of staff for former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, said the city owes Hazouri a debt of gratitude.
“His legacy is massive. It includes cleaner air, the removal of tolls on bridges, stronger public schools, a fully inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance and needed neighborhood investments,” Hand tweeted.
He was also a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable person: Warm, gregarious, never knew a stranger. When someone met Tommy Hazouri for a meal, they quickly learned they would be sharing the meal not just with him but with the entire restaurant (such as the Mandarin @panerabread). (2/3)— Chris Hand (@chrishandjax) September 11, 2021
Tommy Hazouri dedicated his life to making the City of Jacksonville a better place to live for everyone. He always saw the true potential of our community and fought for what he believed in. Jannet and I will miss his friendship dearly.— Nathaniel P. Ford (@NathanielPFord) September 11, 2021
Our hearts are with Carol and their family pic.twitter.com/RJKeTjahD5
Rest in Peace, Tommy Hazouri. A good and faithful servant who had an amazing life. When I got into politics late in life, he couldn’t have been more welcoming or responsive. And I loved that he used ❤️ emojis.— Ellen Glasser (@ellenglasser4ab) September 11, 2021
One of Jacksonville’s iconic leaders passed away today. I’m so lucky to have gotten to work alongside him in some capacity. RIP to our Forever Mayor, Tommy Hazouri. pic.twitter.com/LwfuDb7cgT— Rep. Angie Nixon (@AngieNixon) September 11, 2021
My heart goes out to former Jacksonville Mayor and Council-member Tommy Hazouri’s family.— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) September 11, 2021
He did so much for so many.https://t.co/ies5DsN0mx
My friend Tommy Hazouri embodied public service in our city. As a State Representative, Mayor, School Board Member or Councilmember - there aren’t many who could match Tommy’s devotion to Jacksonville. My prayers are with Carol and his loved ones today.— Terrance Freeman (@TFreemanJax) September 11, 2021