By Mike Dougherty

By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a celebration of life in North Philadelphia as hundreds filed into the Bright Hope church to say goodbye to Jerry Mondesire.

Many were sharing laughs and stories as they entered the church.

State senator Anthony Williams says Mondesire was a polarizing figure whose impact on city of Philadelphia will be felt for many years to come.

“He’s the person who built a bridge across the city of Philadelphia to a variety of communities that would never understand the plight of the under privileged. He’s done it in an eloquent, effective and sometimes fiery way.”

Mondesire was known for being a fighter and incredibly bright. Congressman Bob Brady says he made it his mission to take care of the less fortunate.

“People knew when Jerry came at them, they better be ready. He’s going to be missed. There are no other Jerry Mondesires now and I don’t see any on the horizon.”

J. Whyatt Mondesire was 65.