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Memorial Mass held for former Ohio congressman, mayor

Last Updated Jan 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm EDT

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 1977 file photo, U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, left, points out a sign in the crowd to U.S. Rep. Tom Luken, D-Ohio, at dedication ceremonies for a new bus terminal area in downtown Cincinnati. The former Ohio congressman and Cincinnati mayor who was a Democratic force in a decades-long political career and known for mentoring young politicians such as Jerry Springer has died. Luken's son, Charlie Luken, told reporters that his father passed away Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo)

CINCINNATI – Friends of former Democratic Ohio congressman and Cincinnati Mayor Thomas Luken spoke of his commitment to civil rights and other causes at a memorial Mass for him on Wednesday.

The Mass was held at St. Xavier Church in downtown Cincinnati for Luken, who died last week at age 92.

Luken mentored many young politicians, including former Cincinnati mayor and current TV talk show host Jerry Springer and current Mayor John Cranley.

WLWT-TV reported Springer and civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein were among those who praised Luken on Wednesday for his commitment to fight for basic human rights and for his ideals.

“There’s no better inspiration than someone who is fighting for his ideals,” Gerhardstein said.

Luken marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, and advocated for a public bus system. He was an opponent of capital punishment.

“Years after he was no longer in office,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said, “I know he’d go to Columbus for rallies against the death penalty.”

Luken’s time as a U.S. House member for 15 years in the 1970s and 80s was bookended by stints on the city council. He also served as a federal prosecutor.

Luken’s son, Charlie Luken, also was a former Cincinnati mayor and congressman.

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Information from: WLWT-TV, http://www.wlwt.com