By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK — Ed Koch is being remembered as the quintessential New Yorker – an admired but tough, colorful former mayor who will be honored at his funeral by former President Bill Clinton.
At the service Monday morning at Manhattan's Temple Emanu-El, mourners will also hear about Koch's other fierce loyalty: Israel. The Israeli consul general is set to speak, along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Clinton interrupted a trip to Japan to return to New York for the funeral, according to Koch spokesman George Arzt.
He said Koch was a friend of both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and was helpful during her successful campaign for the U.S. Senate from New York. Koch also backed Hillary Clinton in her presidential run.
Bill Clinton will serve as a representative for President Barack Obama at the funeral.
Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at age 88.
Friends from his weekly Greenwich Village luncheon gathering got together on Saturday, two weeks after his last meal with them.
The funeral will be held at one of the nation's most prominent synagogues, a Reform Jewish congregation on Fifth Avenue. Bloomberg is a member, as are comedian Joan Rivers and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
"I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone," he told The Associated Press in 2008 after purchasing a burial plot in Trinity Church Cemetery, at the time the only graveyard in Manhattan that still had space. "This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me."
Koch led his city for 12 years, with a brash, humor-tinged style that came to personify the New York of the 1980s.
The Democratic mayor is credited with helping save New York from its economic crisis in the 1970s and leading it to financial rebirth. But during his three terms as mayor, he also faced racial tensions and corruption among political allies, as well as the AIDS epidemic, homelessness and urban crime.
In his weekly radio address, Bloomberg called Koch "our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader."
The mayor said his predecessor's "tough, determined leadership and responsible fiscal stewardship ... helped lift the city out of its darkest days and set it on course for an incredible comeback."
He added, "When someone needed a good kick in the rear, he gave it to them."
Koch lost the Democratic nomination for mayor in 1989 to David Dinkins, who succeeded him.
Koch said he was defeated "because of longevity." In his words, "people get tired of you."
But as the votes were coming in, he said he told himself, "I'm free at last."
Also on HuffPost:
Served as: United States Army general, Desert Storm commander Died on: Dec. 27, 2012 at age 78.
Served as: U.S. Solicitor General (June 1973 - Jan. 1977) Died on: Dec. 19, 2012 at age 85.
Served as: U.S. Senator (D-Hawaii) from Jan. 1963 until his death Died on: Dec. 17, 2012 at age 88.
Served as: U.S. Congressman (D-Texas) from 1953-1995 Died on: Dec. 4, 2012 at age 89.
Served as: U.S. Senator (R-N.H.) from 1980-93 Died on: Nov. 19, 2012 at age 82.
Served as: U.S. Senator (D-S.D.) from 1963-1981. Ran for: president in 1972 as the Democratic Party nominee. Died on: Oct. 21, 2012 at age 90.
Served as: U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania (R from 1981-2009, D from 2009-11) Died on: Oct. 14, 2012 at age 82 of complications from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Served as U.S. Congressman (D-Fla.) from 1963-1997 Died on: Oct. 9, 2012 at age 92 from natural causes.
Served as: U.S. Ambassador to Libya (June 2012 - Sept. 2012) Died on: Sept. 11, 2012 in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. Information Officer Sean Smith, and Navy SEALs/security officials Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were also killed.
Served as: CIA officer Died on: Sept. 10, 2012 at age 84 of complications from heart valve replacement surgery.
Paul McCracken (2nd from right)
Served as: Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (R) from 1969-71 Died on: August 3, 2012 at age 96.
Served as: U.S. Congressman (R-S.D.) from 1973-81 and from 1981-87. Died on: May 16, 2012 at age 89 of natural causes.
Mary Richardson Kennedy (Left)
Wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from 1994 to her death in 2012 Died on: May 16, 2012 at age 52 from an apparent suicide.
Served as: U.S. Attorney General (D) from 1965-66 Died on: May 8, 2012 at age 90 from natural causes.
Served as: U.S. Congressman (D-N.J.) from 1989-2012. Died on: March 6, 2012 at age 77 from colon cancer.
Kevin H. White (Center)
Served as: Mayor of Boston (1968-84) Died on: Jan. 27, 2012 at age 82.
Served as: West Virginia Governor (1965-69) Died on: Jan. 15, 2012 at age 93.
Edward Derwinski (Left)
Served as: U.S. Congressman (R-Ill.) from 1959-83, Secretary of Veterans' Affairs (1989-92) Died on: Jan. 15, 2012 at age 85.
Served as: Governor (R-S.D.) from 1979-87 / 1995-2003 and Congressman from 2003-04 Died on: Jan. 12, 2012 at age 72 from brain cancer.
Served as: Press Secretary for Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R) Died on: Jan. 7, 2012 at age 63 from stomach cancer.
Served as: U.S. Congressman (D-Ga.) from 1977-1993 Died on: Jan. 1, 2012 at age 78.