BROOKLYN, Ohio - Former Brooklyn Mayor John Coyne passed away this week at age 97.
He wielded so much power in the Cuyahoga County Democratic party; he was referred to as the “Irish Godfather” or “The Boss”.
But many of us remember him as the father of Ohio’s seat belt law.
Coyne was mayor of Brooklyn for 52 years. In 1966, he championed the cause of motorist safety, making his city the first in Ohio, and the world, with a seat belt law.
In 1999, he championed a cell phone law, making it illegal to talk and drive in Brooklyn.
That same year, at age 82, he lost his re-election bid, a position he held since 1947.
WEWS reporter Ted Hart paid a visit to Coyne’s office on Nov. 3, the day following his loss. They reminisced on Coyne’s long career.
The story in our video player contains some very rare photos and old film of the mayor with some very big names in politics.
But Coyne seemed proudest of his accomplishment of having a toy library, nearly 10,000 toys, in his city.
Hart closes his story with something that seems only natural in a story about a mayor in office for more than 50 years, a shot of Coyne and his wife who were about to celebrate 60 years of marriage later that month.