He was a close ally of at least four Chicago mayors.
One of Kennedy's last visits to Chicago came in 2005 when he was the keynote speaker at a gala honoring the 50th anniversary of the election of Mayor Richard J. Daley.
"Our family's been very close to the Kennedys for many years. My dad and mother were close to the president and to their father Joe Kennedy," said Bill Daley, former U.S. secretary of commerce.
In 1980, the year he ran for president, Kennedy was here to walk in the St. Patrick's Day parade with another of his democratic allies, Mayor Jane Byrne.
And Kennedy gave one of his classic stump speeches for Mayor Harold Washington. And in that same campaign he proved that not all politicians can sing, especially in Spanish.
But the Kennedy connection was more than political. Lifelong friend Chicagoan Jay Doherty remembers when the senator couldn't come to his wedding and sent a watercolor he painted.
"May you always dance with the daffodils and enjoy a happy life together, Ted and Vicky," said Doherty, reading the inscription on the painting.
Others here remember the issues he stood for.
"If you had a disability, whether mental or physical he stood up for you," said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D) Illinois.
"He was a very good man, not brilliant but totally honest," said Adlai Stevenson former U.S. senator. "Some politicians swell, others grow and Ted grew over the years."
The Kennedy family also had a long business relationship with Chicago. For many years they owned the Merchandise Mart.