Former Kitchener Mayor Dom Cardillo passed away early Sunday morning at Sunnyside Home surrounded by his family.

Cardillo was mayor of Kitchener for 12 years until his retirement in 1994.  He also served as an alderman for 20 years prior to that. 

Before his career in municipal politics, he worked as a high school teacher and coach at Kitchener Collegiate Institute, Forest Heights High School and Laurel Vocational.

Current Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr tells CTV News that Cardillo cared deeply about the community and its people.

Zehr says “I would call Dom a mentor, for setting a great example, not only for me, but for citizens in general.”

The second longest-serving Mayor in Kitchener’s history, Cardillo’s name is honoured throughout the city including an arena at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium and walking trail in Stanley Park.

During Cardillo’s tenure as mayor, he was involved with the planning and construction of Kitchener’s current city hall.

Zehr says “Beyond buildings, I think his legacy is helping to make people proud of this city and showing people how to relate to each other and bring out the best in people, and not always be looking at the negative.  That would be his legacy.”

Merv Villemaire served on council with him for 15 years. He says Cardillo was more than just a colleague and he was a best friend.

Villemaire says “The beautiful thing with having friends like that is that you've got wonderful memories.”

Loved ones say Cardillo’s legacy will live on in the city and in the hearts of all those he touched.

His daughter Lisa tells CTV News, “He taught us be who you are.  Treat everyone with respect and at the same level, everyone is equal.”

Cardillo’s burial will be private, but the family is arranging a public funeral service and visitation.

He was 82 years old.