Hundreds of mourners paid their respects to Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott Saturday.
"He worked 24 hours a day for the children and the people of the city of Chicago," recalled Mayor Daley, who tearfully called Scott "one of my best friends."
"Michael, I will miss you," Daley said. "I will always remember you."
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education and former Chicago Public Schools President, praised Scott’s service and courage.
"In the city of broad shoulders, he had the shoulders and the heart of a giant," Duncan said.
Mourners included Scott’s children, Michael Jr. and Monique, and his widow, Diane Palomar Scott. Local political leaders at the service included U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, mayoral brothers Bill and John Daley and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
During the "sign of peace" portion of the service, mourners were asked to give their neighbors hugs and say, "Michael loved you."
President Obama and his wife Michelle sent a letter of condolence that was read at the service.
Aside from school board president, Daley has also tapped Scott over the years to serve as Chicago Park District superintendent and as a member of the Regional Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and the city's 2016 Olympic committees.
In August, Scott revealed he had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury probing school admissions, but denied he had ever clouted any student into a selective enrollment school.
Scott's body was found earlier this week partially submerged in the Chicago River. A .380-caliber handgun was nearby.
The Cook County medical examiner's office has ruled the 60-year-old's death a suicide, but some community activists, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson who also attended the funeral, say they don't believe Scott killed himself.
Chicago police are continuing their investigation but haven't found evidence Scott was the victim of a crime. Police Superintendent Jody Weis said his department should have its own ruling on Scott's death by the end of the week.
Scott, who's been called a lifelong public servant, was appointed to the school board three times.
A public memorial is scheduled for Sunday.