Memories of Lincoln Alexander echoed in the hallways of Hamilton's city hall Friday with the news of his passing.
Mayor Bob Bratina received a call around 9 a.m. from the deputy police chief notifying him of Alexander's death.
"When he was moved to the General, we knew his life was ending and we figured it would be close," Bratina said. "We've lost someone whose own stature gave stature to our city."
Bratina was a news reporter in the 1960s covered Alexander both as a lawyer and as a federal member of parliment.
"When he had a federal election victory, I covered his campaign headquarters.," he said. "It was really exciting, they had a fabulous party and unfortunately all the buzz and the talk and noise was drowning out a fellow in the corner who was playing piano - Oscar Peterson. "
Councillor Maria Pearson's first job as a legal secretary was a few floors below the law firm Miller Alexander Tokiwa Isaac in the old CIBC building.
"They always called themselves the 'international law firm' because they had lawyers from different nations," she said. "I tell you, he was a big booming man, but he had the heart of a gentle giant."
Pearson said he had great humor and wit, and they had fun exchanges in the elevator heading to work in the morning.
"He was a wonderful citizen," she said. "Anyone who had the pleasure of chatting with him knew he had a heart of gold."
Robert Pasuta said he had a good chat with Alexander when he became a city councillor after working as a farmer.
"Every time after that I'd see him at a function or a graduation or on the street or at city hall, he'd say 'How's farmer Rob doing? How are the seven kids doing? How are the crops?" Pasuta said. "It was amazing how he remembered. And then he'd go on to the next person and say their name and ask how this and that was going. He had a photographic memory."
Bratina also considered 'Linc' a friend. He recalled when Alexander sang a song with his band, the Balkan Strings. He was an excellent singer and music was an important part of his life.
Bratina said he always had great respect for Alexander.
"I liked how he walked tall and if there is one thing I could emulate, it was that he always stood tall. He never slunk around and he walked briskly and always left a good impression everywhere he went."
Bratina said that Alexander's presence will be missing in the city.
"When he was present at an event, he gave greater stature to Hamilton because he was a noted presence, everyone seemed to know him," he said.