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Ed Koch

Mayor, Badass

Ed Koch: December 12, 1942 – February 1, 2013

Ed Koch, best known as the 105th Mayor of New York City, died today at the age of 88 of congestive heart failure.

Koch was born in the Bronx on December 12, 1924 to immigrant parents from Poland. He served in the United States Army as an infantryman during World War II,  was awarded two battle stars, and came home a sergeant. Upon his return in 1946, he pursued a law degree from New York University. In 1963, Koch began his political career first as a district leader in Greenwich Village and then as a member of the New York City Council. He went on to represent the city in Congress for five terms before running for mayor.

When Koch decided to run for Mayor of New York City in 1977, the city was on the verge of collapse, still suffering from the financial crisis of the mid-1970′s and facing issues around crime and drugs. He won voters over with his tough talk and the slogan, “After eight years of charisma and four years of the clubhouse, why not try competence?” Once elected, his job wasn’t easy – he had to balance the budget, which required persuading the workforce to do more with less and decreasing spending for the poor. In order to save the city, Koch focused on supporting the middle-class and businesses that could bring in tax dollars for the city government. Koch’s energy and discipline made him a popular mayor: he won his second term with 75 percent of the vote and his third term with 78 percent of the vote.

After leaving elected office, he worked as a lawyer and remained an active participant in the city’s political scene. He also appeared as the judge on the TV show “The People’s Court” for two years and made cameos on “Sex and the City,” “Spin City” and “Picket Fences.”

His tombstone reads:

"My Father is Jewish, My Mother is Jewish, I am Jewish" -Daniel Pearl 2002

* Based on a post on eFuneral.com - a website that provides helpful information and support to those caring for a sick loved one, thinking about end-of-life, or grieving a loss.