WARREN - City officials who served with her remember Virginia Bufano as ''an excellent legislator.''
''She really paid attention to detail and she was a leader on council when I served,'' Doug Franklin, mayor and former councilman, said. ''She really cared about the city.''
Bufano died Thursday at age 84. She retired from City Council at the end of 2005 after 22 years service. She's still the city's longest-serving councilwoman.
Franklin served with Bufano when he was a ward councilman and as president of council. As a young councilman, he said Bufano took him under her wing and taught him a lot.
He said Bufano was the main force in getting the site of the former Mahoningside Power Plant cleaned up.
''Our prayers are with her family. The community lost a great leader,'' Franklin said.
The lifelong Trumbull County resident worked as a real estate agent before entering public office.
During her time in office, Bufano advocated for downtown revitalization. Projects on which she worked included establishing the SCOPE senior center, Someplace Safe domestic violence center, Burbank Baseball, the historic John Edwards Stark House and Harriet Upton House, the Rape Crisis Council and Dress for Success.
Her other civic activities included being a founding committee member of the Italian American Festival.
Former Mayor Michael O'Brien, who also served on council with Bufano, said Bufano was very thorough and she was able to be that way as a councilwoman because council was her only occupation once she was elected.
''She really had a unique passion for the city,'' O'Brien said. ''She was well-liked by the entire community.''
She said there were several times when the two would confer every day for a couple of weeks at a time on matters before council.
''She was just that kind of diligent council person,'' O'Brien said.
Councilman Al Novak, D-2nd Ward, was a rookie councilman when he met Bufano and she showed him the inner workings of council at a time when there were more unwritten rules for council members.
''She kind of laid down the groundwork for what you should do,'' Novak said.
Novak said that Bufano, even in her later years, made it a point to circulate through her ward routinely and make sure to meet new residents who had moved there.
''She always kept up with what was going on in her ward,'' Novak said.
He said he admired her for the way she took a stand on matters, even if did not always agree with her.
''She was never afraid to speak up,'' Novak said.
City Councilman and former mayor Dan Sferra said, ''She was a good person. She always had the people of Warren in her heart.''
Bufano was on council for several years while Sferra was mayor and he said there were times they disagreed but she always stuck up for the citizens of the First Ward.
''She was a fighter for her ward,'' Sferra said.
In February 2006, just after her retirement from council, she was presented a key to the city for her service.
Then-Councilman Felipe Romain, D-at large, told the group gathered for her farewell, ''When I came home from the service, she was my councilwoman. When I bought a new house, she was my councilwoman. When I raised a family, she was my councilwoman. And when I got on council, she was my cohort.
''Virginia is brilliant, she has a quick wit, and I was proud to live in the ward she represented. There has never been a finer leader.''
Bufano told the council members, ''I'm going to miss you all. It was my pleasure to be here with you.''
Family and friends may call from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Monday at the Peter Rossi and Son Memorial Chapel. Service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Braceville Township Cemetery.