Nikola Tesla died alone in his room at the New Yorker Hotel at the age of 86. Here is the eulogy for Tesla, written by Yugoslavian author Louis Adamic and read by New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.
Here is the transcript for those who can't watch video:
I have been honored and been asked to read a tribute to a great American, Nikola Tesla, written by another great American, Lewis Adaleigh, both natives of what we know as Yugoslavia but coming from different parts. They were friends.
On last Thursday night here in our city of New York, a man who was 87 years of age died in his humble hotel room. His name was Nikola Tesla. He died in poverty, but he was one of the most useful and successful men who ever lived. His achievements were great and are becoming greater as time goes on. Nikola Tesla could have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars, could have become the richest man in the country, in the world, if he wished for riches. He didn't. He did not care for anything, did not have time for anything that spelled success for too many people.
Nikola Tesla was a great humanitarian, a pure scientific genius, a poet in science. He did extraordinary amazing miraculous things during his life among us. He did them simply to serve mankind and for his services, he did not want anything. Money, he didn't care for it. Honor, who was anybody to honor anybody else. That was his attitude. Gratitude, he did not expect or demand. Nikola Tesla did not care to be paid for anything he did for the human race. He simply functioned according to his natural genius which came to him in the land of his birth, Yugoslavia, as a son of his mother.
Now this extraordinary man is dead or so they say. The papers on Friday told he died, his body was found still on the bed in his little hotel room in this city and the newspapers publish obituaries and editorials summarizing his life and work and told of his personal habits and eccentricities. Tesla they say is dead. In a funeral parlor in this city there is all that is left of his person. The funeral services will be held on next Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 in the Cathedral of Saint John. People will come. Yes, many people, people from all walks of life, humble unknown people and people who are famous scientists and industrialists and others and then we'll be all right. It is a customary thing to do, but Tesla is not dead.
We celebrate his achievement on earth, his great triumph which is our triumph, the triumph of all the people of the world. We celebrate his contributions to our life, to the sum total of civilization and human potentialities to Americans everywhere which will be as permanent as man himself. We are talking about Nikola Tesla, celebrating the fact that we belong to the same species to which he belonged while he was among us. He is a feather in the cap of the whole human race and Yugoslavia and America can be proud of him.
So it is true, Tesla is not dead. He is very much alive among us. Among us is a triumph of his life, his achievement which we celebrate here. We do not honor him. We are gathered here to feel this triumph of one human life and to share our feelings with you all.