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Helen Giuliani, 92; Active in Son Rudolph's Political Career

September 09, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Helen Giuliani, the mother of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was credited with teaching her only child a sense of history and public service, died Sunday. She was 92.

Helen Giuliani died at Mount Sinai Medical Center with her son and other family members at her side. She had been in poor health for about 18 months, said Sunny Mindel, a spokeswoman for the former mayor.

The astute woman took an active role in her son's political career, campaigning for him in 1989, when he lost a bid for the mayor's office, and in 1993, when he won his first term.

On the morning her son was sworn in for his second term in 1998, she made clear she foresaw another inaugural.

"Someday, I will see him sworn in as president," she said.

The former mayor, 58, credited his mother with imparting a sense of history and the importance of establishing priorities, Mindel said.

"He regaled us with wonderful stories about his mother," she said.

Giuliani's father, Harold, died in 1981 of prostate cancer, the same disease Giuliani was diagnosed with in 2000.

The funeral was scheduled for Tuesday--the day before the former mayor is to begin a reading of the names of World Trade Center victims at a ground zero anniversary remembrance of the terrorist attacks.

Even as he remained at her bedside Sunday, Giuliani was appearing on television in taped interviews recalling the eventful period immediately following the destruction of the monolithic city landmarks nearly one year ago.

Giuliani, lionized for his efforts at calming the city after the attacks, left office at the end of last year, having been prevented by term limits from seeking a third term.

His mother's death comes during a tumultuous year for the former mayor, who also settled a bitter divorce with Donna Hanover, his wife of 20 years. Giuliani's companion, Judith Nathan, was with him at the hospital when his mother died.

Helen D'Avanzo Giuliani was born in 1909, the fourth of seven children. Three of her brothers became police officers, and a fourth became a fire captain, Mindel said.

After Giuliani was born in 1944, she stayed home to raise him during his early years and then went to work as a secretary for a medical group.

Giuliani has said his mother often read six newspapers a day, highlighting stories and teaching him to follow national affairs. He remembers learning about the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s from her, Mindel said.

As he grew up, she helped organize his time and set priorities, she said.

"She was a phenomenal teacher to him," Mindel said.

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