Dennis Collins, 85, who was elected to four consecutive terms as the mayor of Bayonne, N.J., during the 1970s and '80s, died Sunday.

Family members said Mr. Collins died of natural causes.

Current Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith described Mr. Collins as a quintessential old-school Irish-American politician who "could sing you a song that would bring a tear to your eye" but always had a pen and index cards in his jacket pocket for scribbling down constituents' needs.

"If you had a problem, he'd jot it down, and the next day he'd be calling to see if it was fixed yet," Smith said.

A Bayonne native, Mr. Collins served in the Army during World War II in the Far East and entered politics in the early 1960s when he was elected to the first of three terms on the city's council.

His son, Dennis Jr., said his father told him he had vowed when he was overseas that if he returned home safely, he would go into public service.

He was elected mayor in 1974 and reelected three times, serving until 1990. He stayed active in politics, later working for Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. - AP