From the Boston Globe, writer Adrian Walker attended the funeral.
Coard, who died last week at the age of 82, has been celebrated as the guiding force behind Action for Boston Community Development, the city’s largest and most influential antipoverty agency.
But Coard’s friends, allies, and admirers gathered not only to celebrate his life, but perhaps get a glimpse of the private and elusive man behind the good works.
Representative Edward Markey, who had shared a close relationship with Coard for many years, delivered a lengthy eulogy that sought to capture the scale of Coard’s influence.
He invoked Edward M. Kennedy’s famous tribute to his fallen brother, Robert: “a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it.’’
But he also remembered a man who struck respect, if not fear, into the elected officials he called upon to do the agency’s bidding in Washington and at the State House.
“For generations of Boston politicians . . . Ed Markey included, ABCD didn’t stand for Action for Boston Community Development; it stood for Anything Bob Coard Desires,’’ Markey said.
Nationally, Coard helped engineer legislation nearly 30 years ago requiring federal funding for community action programs, ensuring that the movement ABCD exemplifies would survive, regardless of which party was in power.