He was honorable and optimistic, enthusiastic and tireless – the mayor who attended the city’s Cinco de Mayo celebration on the day before a fatal illness forced him to take a leave of absence.

He was the politician who never held a grudge, the mentor who never stopped encouraging young people, the consensus builder who never failed to respect people with a different point of view.

And he loved his job as mayor, and he loved his hometown.

Anyone attending the tribute to Santa Rosa Mayor Bob Blanchard came with the reminder that politics doesn’t have to be angry and mean-spirited. Speaker after speaker said Blanchard, who died on Saturday, never failed to be friendly and respectful, even when dealing with his critics.

Planning Commissioner John Walsh said the mayor’s generosity of spirit reminded him of someone in the movies. “You talked to Bob for a few minutes, and you got a role in a Jimmy Stewart movie.”