Funeral services were held Tuesday for longtime State Representative Peter Kocot of Northampton.
A long list of state and local political leaders, as well as family and friends, gathered today for Kocut’s funeral.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church was filled. People even stood to attend the liturgy.
Kocot, 61, served in the legislature for 16 years. He passed away last week after what was described in his obituary as a "brief illness."
Kocot was first elected to the House in a 2002 special election and represented the 1st Hampshire district, which consists of Hatfield, Northampton, Southampton, and Westhampton in Hampshire County and Montgomery in Hampden County.
Those who served with him are feeling the loss.
"I’ll miss him working side-by-side. He was a great man, good friend, great legislator. He'll be missed by everybody as he should be did his job right," said State Senator Don Humason.
State Representative Joseph Wagner added, "He’s a great person, the epitome of what a person in public office should be.”
With Kocut’s death and the recent announcements that longtime State Representatives John Scibak and Steve Kulik will not seek re-election, western Massachusetts will lose some of its political clout on Beacon Hill.
"It’s hard when you lose the collective experience of these three gentlemen who spent 40 or more years in the legislature," said former State Representative Paul Caron.
The loss is seniority impacts committee assignments and leadership positions. Kocut was chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Finance, Kulik was vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Scibak was chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education.
"I would hope the speaker would be on the lookout here and he’s always been friendly to western Mass. to take a look at the talent out here and elevate some from the ranks of western Mass. delegation to fill one of the three vacant positions in leadership positions," Caron noted.
Kocot’s funeral drew a large legislative delegation. Among those attending were Governor Charlie Baker.
Everyone recognized that Beacon Hill won’t be the same without Peter Kocot.
Kocot is survived by his wife, Shauneen, and two sons, Jake and Luke.
In lieu of flowers, Kocot's family is requesting donations to the Peter Kocot Scholarship Fund (Dollars for Scholars), the Cooley Dickinson Cancer Center, or Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst.
Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.