GARY, Ind. (CBS) — A section of U.S. Route 20 in Gary, Indiana, has been named in honor of late mayor Rudolph “Rudy” Clay, who passed away in June 2013.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the street naming played out like a funeral, with tributes to the former mayor on the steps of Gary City Hall, where the “Mayor Rudolph ‘Rudy’ Clay Memorial Highway” sign was unveiled Friday.

“It is not because Mayor Clay died, but it was because he lived, and in so living, he touched so many lives,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who was joined by Clay’s friends and family.

Freeman-Wilson said the honor was a fitting tribute to a selfless man.

Clay’s widow, Christine, said her husband was always helping people in need.

“When you travel Mayor Rudolph Clay Memorial Highway, think of the life that he lived. Help somebody. Make somebody feel good,” she said.

Rudy Clay Jr. wiped away a tear as the brown highway sign was unveiled.

“I just love him and love him and love him so much, and I just miss him so much,” he said.

Mayor Clay’s lifelong friend, actor Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, had a make believe phone conversation with the late mayor, mocking the surprise his friend would have shown at such an honor.

“No! Man, are you kidding? No! No! Ain’t that something? Ain’t that something?” he said, mimicking Clay’s trademark laugh.

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