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    Memorial Mass honors former Mayor Richard Riordan and his devotion to LA
    • April 28, 2023

    Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan will be honored today as Angelenos gather for a memorial Mass to celebrate the life of a man remembered for the way he led the city following the 1992 L.A. riots and during the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

    Riordan died April 19 at age 92. Soon after news broke of his passing, political, civic and religious leaders throughout L.A. were quick to praise Riordan for his lasting contributions to the city.

    Today’s Mass will be at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown L.A. Riordan had played a key role in getting the facility built after another cathedral suffered severe damage during the Northridge earthquake.

    The program will begin at 1:30 p.m. with remarks by current L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, one of Riordan’s daughters, and other dignitaries. Archbishop José H. Gomez will preside over the 2 p.m. Mass. The homily will be delivered by Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, pastor at Riordan’s former parish, St. Monica Catholic Church.

    The Mass will be livestreamed at

    The service is open to the public, though seating is limited. Information about how to get to the cathedral, street closures and security checks can also be found on that website.

    Born May 1, 1930, Riordan grew up in New York but eventually moved to Southern California, where he founded the law firm Riordan & McKinzie.

    Law wasn’t his only pursuit, however.

    Riordan was also a businessman who entered politics late in life. When elected in 1993 to serve as mayor, Riordan became the first Republican to hold that title in more than three decades.

    Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan speaks about the proposed El Toro airport Monday at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Mayor Riordan says the poor should be considered when making decisions and that is why he favors an airport. He thinks the it will bring new jobs and help the economy. Photo by: Mindy Schauer
    Rior 12/7/98 MS#3

    July 1993: Mayor Richard Riordan and Rep. Maxine Waters, left, greet Nelson Mandela as he gets off a plane at Los Angeles International Airport. Daily News file photo

    Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, center, is flanked by California Lt. Gov. Gray Davis and actress Jayne Meadows as they join a parade of celebrities dishing out the makings of a complete Thanksgiving turkey dinner in a food line at the Los Angeles Mission in downtown?s Skid Row on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 1997. The mission planned to serve some 4,000 meals to the needy and homeless. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

    Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan talks to a crowd of supporters in the state Capitol in Sacramento in August 2001. Riordan passed away on Wednesday, April 19, at 92 years old. (File photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

    John J. Kim-staff 11/7/01 smct news
    Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan smiles while saying goodbye to members of the media after giving a speech at Siebel Systems in San Mateo Wednesday. Riordam announced on Tuesday his plan to seek the Republican nomination for governor of California.

    Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan officially announces his re-election campaigns in the Studio City area of Los Angeles, Feb. 18, 1997. Riordan kicked off his re-election bid with a speech indicating that fighting crime will be his top issue. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    Architect Frank Gehry, left, talks with former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan during a dedication ceremony for the new Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Oct. 20, 2003. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

    President Bush puts on a cowboy hat given to him by Mayor Richard Riordan as he arrives at Los Angeles International Airport, Monday May 28, 2001. Bush will meet with Gov. Gray Davis on Tuesday to discuss California’s energy crisis. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)



    Known as socially progressive but fiscally conservative, Riordan spurned the six-figure salary assigned to the mayor and instead accepted the job for just $1 a year.

    Riordan led as mayor through the lens of a businessman, valuing results over bureaucratic red-tape. Often, he would encourage his staffers to do whatever they had to do to get the job done and to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

    As the city’s top leader, Riordan inherited a fractured city when he became mayor a year after the infamous L.A. riots that followed the acquittal of four White officers caught on camera beating Rodney King, a Black motorist stopped by police.

    In addition to trying to help Angelenos heal after the riots, Riordan was confronted with another challenge about six months after taking office: helping L.A. rebuild after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

    During his eight years as mayor, Riordan also successfully helped championed against a campaign for the San Fernando Valley to secede from the rest of L.A.

    Those who knew him say Riordan was also an avid reader who helped rebuild the city’s library system and that he loved children and gave generously to support the city’s youth.

    Riordan died at his Brentwood home last week surrounded by his wife, Elizabeth, other family members, friends and his “precious pet dogs,” according to his family.

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    ​ Orange County Register