Hundreds gathered Feb. 7 for the funeral of Floyd Adams Jr., the first Black mayor of Savannah, Ga.

In addition to his political career, Adams, 68, was the publisher of The Savannah Herald, which his father founded in 1945 to cover African-American news in the region. Adams Jr. served 13 years on the Savannah City Council before he was elected mayor in 1995 in a close race against an incumbent. He was elected to a second term in 1999.

“Floyd Adams was a uniter,” current Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson said in a statement. “He ignored racial, economic and social barriers during his decades of public service, and in doing so became the mayor of all Savannah.”

In his first inaugural address, Adams made it clear that he was a chief executive for the whole city.

“My race, or gender for that matter, has no bearing on how well I can lead Savannah,” he said.

Adams was laid to rest following a funeral service attended by more than 800 people, including childhood friends and citizens he served as an elected official. St. James Catholic Church rocked with song and praise for the man who prided himself in being a public servant, according to news reports.

“I just want to point out Floyd was the first Black mayor of the first city of Georgia and he died on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month,” Adams’ longtime friend, Ronald Williams, told Savannah CBS affiliate WTOC.

Mary Osborne, a colleague of Adams’ on the council, said the late mayor was a dependable friend, the TV news station reported.

“Floyd was…always there when I needed him,” she said. “Any advice, any guidance, Floyd would be there for me. I love him dearly. I love his family.”

Adams is survived by his wife, Deborah, and two children, Kenny and Khristi.