Family, friends pay respects to Tommy Hazouri at visitation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends are saying goodbye to Jacksonville City Councilman and longtime public servant Tommy Hazouri.

The former mayor, state legislator and school board member died Saturday after developing complications from a lung transplant. He was 76 years old.

There was a public viewing and visitation from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hardage-Giddens Oaklawn Chapel on San Jose Boulevard.

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The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Mandarin Presbyterian Church, where Mandarin Road and Loretto Road meet. The funeral service is open to the public and will be streamed online.

“Tommy Hazouri made a lot of history in Jacksonville,” said Councilman Matt Carlucci. “For some people, it will be a celebration. For some, it will be saying goodbye. For some, it will be a little of both and some tears involved.”

Following the funeral, a graveside service will be held at Oaklawn Cemetery.

There has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for Hazouri and his family, particularly from government leaders who served with him over five decades in public life.

Kris Barnes served as Duval County School Board chair while Hazouri was on the board in the early 2000s. She visited Hazouri days before he passed.

“He was very alert. He knew it was us. He joked with us. He was, of course, on oxygen. But we were very glad we got to go see him. At that time I had no idea he’d go so quickly,” Barnes said.

Members of the City Council also took time out of their meeting Tuesday to say goodbye.

“He wasn’t a recycle or a retread,” she said. “He was a public servant until the day he transitioned -- and that’s a model I want to emulate.”

City Council President Sam Newby even joked that Hazouri’s commitment to the city is so strong, it likely isn’t over.

“He probably told the angels, from 5 to 10 I’m going to be watching City Council because I want to make sure Sam Newby does what he’s supposed to do,” Newby said. “Tommy, I love you, I know you’re looking down on us, and thank you for all that you have done for me and for Jacksonville. Thank you, and God bless.”

As far as Hazouri’s seat on the City Council, there will be a special election Dec. 7.

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