Chris Atkin, who served as the town’s civic mayor in 1983-84, died on November 12 aged 71.
Mr Atkin made history during his year in office by becoming the first mayor to decline to wear the civic furs and also the first to hold his Mayor’s Sunday Service in a mosque, with readings from the Koran and Bible in English and Urdu.
Current elected Mayor of Middlesbrough Dave Budd said: “Although I did not serve on the Council alongside Chris I did have the privilege of meeting him on a number of occasions and enjoyed our conversations.
“Through my party and council colleagues I have learnt that Chris was always a very principled councillor and politician and someone who made a great contribution - seeing his achievements and the actions he took as Mayor in 1983 show someone who was clearly a moderniser for the council and the town.
“On behalf of everyone at Middlesbrough Council today I would like to extend our condolences to Chris’ family and friends.”
Mr Atkin was born in 1946 and attended Linthorpe, Green Lane and Whinney Banks schools before going to work as an office junior at Tees Towing Co. in Queens Square in 1962 and moving onto South Durham Steel and Iron Co., Cargo Fleet Works, as a Junior Sales Clerk in 1964, which became part of British Steel Corporation as part of nationalisation of iron and steel industry in 1967.
He joined the Labour Party in 1966 and was a founder member of the Founder member of Clerical & Administration Workers Union in 1969.
In 1972 Mr Atkin was elected as a Middlesbrough Councillor for the Gresham Ward, and served until 1983 when he represented the Westbourne Ward.
Cllr Bob Brady, the current Vice Chair of Middlesbrough Council who served alongside Mr Atkin, said: “He was a major contributor to the town, the Labour Party and the Council. In the 1970s he was Chairman of Development Services and I was his equivalent in Housing, we worked hand in glove and I think between us we achieved a lot and made a lot of progress in building houses and developing infrastructure.
“He was a very, very nice and decent man who made a major contribution to the town and I was very sorry to hear he had died.”