PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Frank DiPaolo, a political mentor to former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy who was involved in Rhode Island politics for nearly 85 years, has died at the age of 106.

DiPaolo helped shepherd a young Kennedy into office and served as a doorkeeper for the House of Representatives for more than 30 years before retiring in 2010.

In an interview Friday, Kennedy, son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, remembered being a student at Providence College and meeting DiPaolo at the Castle Spa, the restaurant he owned in Providence.

“I was this skinny kid, refugee from Massachusetts, trying to find how I was going to live up to this family name, these oversized expectations that I had placed upon myself. … I was extremely awkward and introverted, and just looking for guidance,” Kennedy said. “I, like everyone else that walked through the door of the Castle Spa, was invited into Frank’s life.”

When Kennedy made his first run for political office, running for the General Assembly in 1988 as a college student, he walked the district and knocked on every door with DiPaolo by his side. He named DiPaolo his campaign treasurer because, under Rhode Island law, the campaign treasurer’s name had to be printed on all campaign literature.