Melvin R. "Randy" Primas Jr., 62, the first African American mayor of Camden died March 1. He had bone-marrow cancer and lived in Fort Mill, S.C.
Primas was a key backer in the city's economic recovery efforts. He was first elected to City Council at age 23 and was elected mayor at 31.
On Friday, Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd ordered flags to fly at half-staff at all municipal buildings in Primas' honor.
Primas was elected mayor three times before being appointed by Gov. James J. Florio to head the state Department of Community Affairs in 1990.
After a stint as an executive for Commerce Capital Markets, then part of Commerce Bank, Mr. Primas returned to Camden in 2002 as its state-appointed chief operating officer following Trenton's takeover of the city.
He resigned in 2006 in a dispute with state Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin over a memorandum of understanding that he refused to sign.
Primas was a friend of former State Sen. Wayne Bryant, a Camden County Democrat who is currently serving a four-year jail sentence on corruption charges for funneling millions to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in exchange for employment.
Primas was scheduled to be a witness in Bryant's second corruption trial, which began in January in Trenton. Prosecutors got the judge's permission to take a deposition from Primas because his poor health kept him from appearing in court.
A 1971 graduate of Howard University, Primas went on to become a vice president of Burger King Entities. After being elected to City Council, he became its president.
He was a trustee of Rowan University from 1993 to 1999.
Primas is survived by his wife, Bonita, and two sons, Melvin 3rd and Craig.
Funeral arrangements are pending.