Faces of some of the more than 120,000 lives lost in US to coronavirus
The novel coronavirus pandemic has left an indelible mark on Americans of all ages and from all walks of life. The death toll has climbed well over the grim milestone of 100,000 — more than the deadliest flu season in recent years and at such a startlingly quick pace that it forced the unprecedented shutdown of the country’s economy.
Those we’ve lost come from all backgrounds and include the very people — first responders and medical staff — who have been working so diligently and selflessly to stem the tide of the infection and care for the sick.
But the virus has also highlighted the disparities in the U.S. — taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color, the elderly and the poor and calling attention to a new class of essential workers who don’t have the protections of traditional first responders. In New York City, epicenter of the virus’ impact in the U.S, there were 500% more deaths in April than there normally would have been. In the U.S. more people have been killed by COVID-19 than gun violence and car crashes in 2019.
“Whether we look at SARS, H1N1, MERS or Zika, the impact of this pandemic is orders of magnitude greater than any infectious disease event of recent memory,” said ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and a Harvard epidemiology professor. “And unfortunately, with such a small proportion of the population infected, we are only at the beginning of these devastating times.”
Luminaries in the arts, Holocaust survivors, war veterans, educators, doctors, transit workers are among the dead. Variously described as heroes, caring parents and loving family members, they will never be forgotten.
Here’s a look at some of the more than 120,000 people in the U.S. who have passed:
Update: June 27
James Cornacchia, a husband, father and officer with Georgia Tech police, died on June 1, the department said.
Cornacchia was a member of the Georgia Tech police for 20 years.
Nur Omar Mohamed and his family fled from Somali to Kenya before seeking asylum in the U.S., The Washington Post reported. The family settled in Minneapolis in 1997 where Nur Omar Mohamed drove a taxi and later worked at a post office, the Post said.
The congresswoman has said she was raised mostly by her father and grandfather after her mother’s death, the Post reported.
Robert Washington, a security guard at a casino Lone Butte, Arizona, died on June 11, said his daughter, Lina Washington, a sports reporter at ABC Sacramento affiliate KXTV.
The 68-year-old was a devoted dad who loved to talk sports and even drove her cat to her in Sacramento, 11 hours away, Lina Washington told The Arizona Republic.
“My dad would always tell me to be strong,” she tweeted. “He is the strongest man I’ll ever know.”
“He supported me through everything: dance, track, college dance team, broadcasting. He taught me so much about life,” she said.
Update: June 20
Muriel Callender, a 84-year-old Brooklyn woman, died on May 3.
Callender was a retired claims investigator at Citibank after working there for three decades.
She was born in Barbados and briefly lived there before immigrating to the U.S. in the 1960s and eventually fell in love with New York City.
She is survived by her four children, 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
“Her laugh was infectious and she always made us smile when recounting stories from her life,” granddaughter Asraiel Harewood told ABC News. “She had a knack for finding humor in the ordinary and could truly brighten anyone’s day.”
“She is deeply missed,” she said.
Obinna Eke, who moved to the U.S. from Nigeria when he as 22 years old, was a patient care technician at a Newark, New Jersey, hospital.
Eke was pursuing a degree in pre-nursing and sociology at Bloomfield College in New Jersey, said Gov. Phil Murphy.
The 42-year-old, who was working full-time while working to school, died on April 5, the Post said.
Deputy Juan Menchaca was a 14-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.
The 70-year-old was also a husband and father of seven, the sheriff’s office said.
Before joining the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Mencaca served the Nacogdoches Police Department and spent 18 years as a Texas parole officer, the sheriff’s office said.
“Deputy Menchaca was a beloved member of our Harris County Sheriff’s Office family, and he will be terribly missed by all of us who had the honor of knowing him,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a statement. “I ask the entire community to lift up Deputy Menchaca, his wife, Melissa, and their entire family in their prayers.”
“I also ask that we all honor him by continuing to do our part to stop the spread of this terrible virus,” Gonzalez said.
Update: June 13
Thomas Cooke Jr., a two-term mayor of East Orange, New Jersey, died on May 18 at the age of 90.
Cooke served as East Orange mayor from 1978 to 1986, becoming the second African American elected to the position, according to the city.
“Mayor Thomas Cooke, Jr. was a man of dignity, service and pride,” Mayor Ted Green said in a statement. “He served our country and our city with such great honor and he set the tone in our city as a pioneering, no-nonsense leader who pulled no punches and set high expectations for everyone around him. From fighting for the rights of tenants and homeowners to stabilizing the tax base and recruiting businesses to invest in East Orange, Mayor Cooke was first and foremost a community advocate who put the people’s needs first.”
“His contributions and legacy in our community will not be forgotten,” Green said.
Armit Harrison, died on May 12 at the age of 99.
Harrison enlisted in the Marine Corps after Pearl Harbor and received the Purple Heart for his role in World War II, according to his obituary.
He lived in Hamilton Square, New Jersey, for most of his life, running his father’s retail milk business and then working for Office Specialties Inc., his obituary said.
Harrison was a committed volunteer for organizations including Meals on Wheels and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, his obituary said.
Harrison was predeceased by his childhood sweetheart and wife of 68 years. He is survived by his four sons.
William Morris, the New York City Police Department’s Chief of Transportation, died from COVID-19 on June 6 after nearly 39 years of service to the city, said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton tweeted, “I had the good fortune and pleasure to work with him from 2014-2016, and award him his third star while he was serving as Manhattan South Borough Chief.”
“The third star was an acknowledgement of his exemplary performance in that most difficult position,” Bratton said. “He lived his Department, his City and his family. I extend to them my sincerest condolences and thanks for his faithful service.”
“NYC was a much different place in 1981 when Chief Billy Morris came on the Job,” tweeted Terence Monahan, NYPD’s Chief of Department. “He was always proud to work alongside the greatest men & women in law enforcement to help turn around our city — that’s his legacy. We are all grateful to Billy for his service. Rest In Peace, friend.”
Hecky’s Barbecue is a staple for the students at Northwestern University and Powell loved to be there for the students according to the Tribune.
The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Northwestern called him “a local legend.”
Powell “was not only a great friend of the University, he represented very best of the Evanston community.”
One Facebook user wrote on the restaurant’s page, “Hecky’s was a part of my childhood. I met Mr. Powell a couple of times. He was the sweetest nicest man. His loss leaves a huge hole in the lives of kids in the Evanston community. ”
Another Facebook user wrote, “My deepest sympathies and condolences to the Powell family. Mr. Hecky was such a kind spirit. Truly one of kind.”
Marny Xiong, Board Chair of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Public Schools, died on June 7, said Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard.
She was a lifelong resident of Saint Paul and graduated from the public school system herself.
“Those of us who were fortunate to know Marny and work with her have been inspired by her tireless efforts to support our students, fight for inclusion and never give in to those who would divide us,” said a statement from Saint Paul Public Schools and the Board of Education. “She was a proud Hmong woman and a respected leader throughout the State of Minnesota. Marny was passionate about uplifting students; she was focused on equity; and she never stopped her efforts to make sure all students and families were welcome and represented.”
“We will honor her by continuing her fight to break down and remove barriers to and within our educational system,” the statement continued.
Superintendent Gothard tweeted, “Marny’s fierce determination for equity & her loving heart will be with me forever.”
Update: May 30
Joel Revzen was an assistant conductor with the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.
“Joel made his Met conducting debut in 2017 leading performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin,” the Met said in a statement. “As an assistant conductor, he shared his profound expertise and musicality in rehearsals as a thoughtful, kind, and supportive presence that endeared him to colleagues.”
Revzen, who was 74, is survived by his daughter and his wife, Cindy Rezven.
“Joel lived a life full of light – he lived in the joy of being alive, and he gave everyone one he met some of his special light,” Cindy Revzen told ABC News. “Challenges were a specialty of his… he never met one that he didn’t love to put his hand to… he truly had the heart of an adventurer. A heart with boundless kindness and generosity, ready to take anyone on that adventure with him. He made music from the heart, and he led from his heart.”
“He was a truly dedicated conductor and teacher (tough, but always incredibly supportive),” she continued. “The lessons he taught us – about music, about life, about being a good human in the world – remain with all the people whose lives he touched.”
John Von Sternberg
John Von Sternberg died on May 7 at age 79.
He was beloved in his town of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, where he worked in real estate and was a decade-long volunteer for the fire department, The New York Times reported.
He even was chief of the Mountain Lakes Volunteer Fire Department in 1976 and 1977, and in 2017, he was given a Lifetime Community Service Award for 60 years of service, according to his obituary.
Von Sternberg is survived by his wife of 56 years, his daughter, two granddaughters and a great-grandson.
Fred Westbrook was a former president of the Detroit Department of Transportation’s bus drivers union.
“Fred was great partner and advocate for the safety of his members,” tweeted Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “He leaves a great legacy and will be missed.”
“Fred was a strong voice for the people of the City of Detroit and DDOT bus drivers,” Brenda Jones, Detroit’s City Council President, said in a statement on Facebook. “Please respect social distancing protocols, wear your masks and wash your hands. I know this is a hard time for us all but we have lost too many friends, family members and pillars of our communities. We owe it to their legacies to be responsible and to prevent these tragedies in the future.”
Westbrook is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren, said Jones.
Update: May 27
Annie Glenn, who was married for 73 years to the late pioneering astronaut John Glenn, died from the coronavirus on May 19 at the age of 100, The Associated Press reported.
She rose to prominence in her own right, overcoming a stutter to become an advocate for people with speech disorders, the AP said. The American Speech–Language–Hearing Association launched an Annie Glenn Award for people who overcome a communication disorder.
NASA said in a statement, “She provided an example for other women who followed to face the challenges of being part of our nation’s space program, and the stress of having spouses in combat. She stood steadfastly by her husband as he took to space once again as the oldest person to orbit Earth, even as she continued her own lifelong public service on behalf of children, the elderly, and the disabled.”
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown tweeted, “Annie Glenn has made Ohio proud all her life – as an advocate, a philanthropist, a mother and partner and as a friend. She will be remembered for her work to lift others up, including those who shared her struggles with communicative disorders.”
Her husband’s fellow pioneering astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, added, “Annie was a fierce advocate for those with speech disorders and had the grace of a butterfly. She represents the very best our country has to offer.”
Mahoney worked day shifts at University Hospital of Brooklyn and overnight at Kings County Hospital Center — both of which primarily serve low-income, black families. He started as a student at the hospital’s teaching college in 1982 and never left.
The 62-year-old was supposed to retire in January after nearly four decades on the job, but delayed retirement to continue helping patients suffering during the pandemic.
“Even when he was sick, he was still checking up on his patients and calling them to make sure they were OK,” said former colleague Michelle King. He had a heart of gold…everybody was VIP to him.”
His older brother, Dr. Melvin Mahoney, who retired in 2014, said that he, among other family members, friends and colleagues, urged him to bow out considering the risks amid the pandemic.
“He stayed there because they needed him,” Melvin Mahoney told ABC News.
Paul and Dolores McCurrie
Paul McCurrie, a New Jersey assemblyman, and his wife, Dolores “Liz” McCurrie, were married for more than 60 years. They died within days of each other, said Gov. Phil Murphy.
Paul McCurrie, 91, served in New Jersey’s State Assembly from 1962 to 1964, The New Jersey Globe reported. He went on to be town attorney in Kearney, a Democratic county committeeman in Kearny’s 4th Ward, and president of the Hudson County Bar Association, the Globe reported.
Dolores McCurrie, 91, a New Jersey native, was a beloved friend, mother and grandmother.
She attended secretarial school and worked for Prudential Insurance before marrying Paul McCurrie, her obituary said.
She died on May 12, her obituary said. Her husband died on May 15, the Globe reported.
The couple is survived by their children and grandson.
Update: May 23
Darrin Adams, a student and custodian at Wayne State University in Michigan, was known for sitting in the front row of his classes.
Sociology professor Sarah Swider called his “thirst for knowledge” “inspiring.”
“I remember teaching the class about Marx and his concept of alienation. When I asked if anyone in the class could relate, it was silent, but then he raised his hand,” Swider wrote on a memory page for Adams. “He told the class he worked as a janitor on campus. He talked about the way his job was organized and how it created distance from his work, from the students for whom he cleaned after, and from those with whom he worked. After he talked about his alienation, hands went up across the room as others were inspired to talk about their jobs and alienation.”
Swider added that Adams “spread his joy, understanding, and desire to engage in humanity’s struggles with dignity.”
Adams has been honored with a posthumous degree in sociology.
Michael Clegg, a veteran sergeant with the Newark, New Jersey, police, died on May 10, according to Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose.
Clegg, 53, had been a member of the Newark police since May 1993.
“The loss of Sergeant Clegg is felt deeply throughout our ranks,” Chief of Police Darnell Henry said in a statement. “He was a consistently reliable police officer and was known as an excellent supervisor.”
“Sergeant Clegg blended the finest traditions from over a quarter century in policing with today’s best practices of impeccable community service and leadership of other officers,” Henry said.
He is survived by his mother, sister, nephew and nieces.
Scott Geiger, 47, was a lifelong EMT, joining the profession at the age of 17.
For the last 17 years, Geiger worked for Atlantic Mobile Health. The group called him “a hero” who “is sorely missed.”
Geiger’s second passion was the New York Jets, New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy said.
Hood, a Democrat who was term-limited out of office two years ago, was popular with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, said MLive. He was known for always keeping calm, even during heating debates, MLive reported.
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted, “So many of us are better people because of Senator Morris Hood III. … Morris was someone that we could count on to do the right thing & he did with such love for his people.”
Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell tweeted, “Morris was a brother to me. He loved everyone but he loved Angela with his whole heart and soul and now he is at home with her.”
Hood’s first wife, Angela, died in 2013, according to MLive.
“When [husband] John [Dingell] died, there was no one who understood better than he, losing half of yourself, and he just was there as a rock,” Dingell said.
“He did so much good for so many, never stopped working for others and our communities will deeply miss him,” Digell wrote.
Yasmin Pena was a 12th grader at the Waterbury Arts Magnet School in Connecticut.
The 18-year-old, known as Yazy, wanted to study theater and become a fashion designer, her sister, Madeline Pena, told The Hartford Courant.
“Yasmin was very involved in Theater and the performing arts. She always had a smile on her face and was always laughing,” the school said in a statement. “Her teachers describe her as kind, sweet and an amazing young lady. She will be missed deeply.”
The teen started feeling ill in February. Her family doesn’t know how she contracted COVID-19, they told the Courant.
She died on Easter, the Courant reported.
Jerome Rice, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was a former sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps and a detective sergeant with New Jersey’s Mountainside Police Department.
Rice was one of the “frozen Chosin” — a dangerous and critical battle at the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War.
Rice was “part of the flight crews and supply transports that delivered not only desperately needed supplies, but also evacuated American soldiers. For his service he was awarded numerous ribbons and medals,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
He went on to serve 34 years with the police department in Mountainside, New Jersey, where he was known “as a cop’s cop,” said Murphy.
Rice is survived by his five children, 21 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
One of Rice’s sons and grandson went on to serve with the Marine Corps, Murphy added.
Joan Swanson, of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, was 89 years old.
She grew up in the Bronx and was working as a secretary when she met her husband. They shared nearly 50 years together and raised a son and daughter, said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Swanson was known for her volunteer work, but “her favorite title was that of ‘mom,'” and she “opened her home and heart” to her children’s friends, Murphy said.
“If they say it takes a village to raise a child, she raised a village of children,” Murphy said.
Update: May 16
Joseph Cavalieri, 93, of Kendall Park, New Jersey, was a sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War, said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Cavalieri then spent most of his career at Vermont Marble Co. He then went on to consult for smaller New Jersey-based marble firms, according to the Rutland Herald.
The most important part of his life was his family.
Cavalieri’s wife of 66 years died 10 months before him. Cavalieri is survived by his four children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 1957, Corliss Henry became the first black nurse on the staff at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, New Jersey.
After 11 years at Muhlenberg Hospital, Henry went on to become a nursing instructor, according to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
She also earned a master’s degree in education at New York University, Murphy said.
In February 2018, during Black History Month, Gov. Murphy presented Henry with a proclamation “to recognize her tremendous life of service.”
Henry was predeceased by her husband. She is survived by her two sons.
Nyla Moore, a 22-year-old Chicago mother, died on May 1.
Moore was the daughter of two Chicago city workers and was a stay-at-home mom who dreamed of becoming a teacher one day.
During the pandemic, she often babysat for family members who are essential workers.
“She was the baby of six,” her mother, Nikki Collins-Moore, told ABC News. “She loved music and she had a knack for people. She loved people.”
She leaves behind a 2-year-old son.
Mark Remolino, 59, of Staten Island, was an inspector with New York City’s Fire Department.
As a member of the Fire Alarm Inspection Unit, Remolino supervised and trained new inspectors and engineers.
“Without question, Inspector Remolino’s work saved countless lives,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “Our entire Department mourns his loss.”
Remolino is survived by his wife and four children.
Charles ‘Rob’ Roberts
Charles “Rob” Roberts was a “beloved” police officer in Glenn Ridge, New Jersey, the department said.
The 45-year-old died on May 11.
In 2000, Roberts joined the police department in Glenn Ridge, and he and his wife raised their three children in the town.
Roberts was a “shining example of an officer dedicated to serving the community” and “was known by face or name by both children and adults,” the department said in a statement.
“He held the honor of being the most senior officer within the patrol division and served as a detective and a field training officer within the department,” the department said.
“Rob never missed an opportunity to support law enforcement races such as the Law Enforcement Torch Run which benefits the Special Olympics and the Tunnel to Towers Run honoring the lives of first responders lost on September 11, 2001.”
“Rob was a mentor within the department and the entire Borough; and today we have truly lost a hero to all,” the department continued. “Rest easy our brother in blue, you will never be forgotten and have left a permanent mark on each life you have touched. To have known you is to have loved you.
Raymond Scholwinski, a sergeant with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, died on May 6.
Scholwinski, 70, started as a reserve deputy with the sheriff’s office in 1979. He was a full-time officer for 26 years.
“Sgt. Scholwinski represented the best of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office family,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. “Ray consistently delivered for the people of Harris County. We will miss our brother and we will honor his legacy of service.”
Nikima Thompson, 41, was a communications operator III with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
Thompson, a Miami native, joined the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Sept. 2003 as a communications operator I. She was promoted to communications operator II in Feb. 2005 and to communications operator III in July 2006.
“Nikima is a long standing veteran of our team, and she is loved by so many who have had the pleasure of working alongside her,” said Angela Mize, director of the sheriff’s office regional communications division.
Update: May 8
Paul Cary, a paramedic from Aurora, Colorado, who came to New York City to help during the crisis, died from the coronavirus, according to New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio.
After three decades of serving the people of Aurora, “he made the choice to come here and save lives,” de Blasio said.
“Paul gave his life for us,” the mayor said, calling him “heroic.”
De Blasio said a memorial will be created in New York City to honor him and “to remember all those who came to our defense.”
Michael Conners, 58, was a Newark, New Jersey, police officer who worked for the department since December 1993.
“Officer Conners was a pillar in the Newark Police Division,” said Chief of Police Darnell Henry. “He was known for his consistency as an insightful guardian of the community and as a reliable colleague.”
“He was an integral part of our Police Division’s family,” added Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. “This painful passing is felt throughout our ranks.”
Conners has two daughters, two sons and six grandchildren.
Donald DiPetrillo was the Seminole Tribe of Florida Fire Chief and a “true public safety icon in the South Florida fire community for nearly half century,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
DiPetrillo, 70, was an assistant fire chief in Fort Lauderdale from 1973 to 2001, reported ABC Miami affiliate WPLG. He was the fire chief in Davie, Florida, from 2001 and 2007 and had been the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s fire chief since 2008, WPLG said.
Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings added, “Chief DiPetrillo will be remembered as a hero for his bravery and many accomplishments throughout the course of over five decades of service.”
He is survived by his son, girlfriend, mother and brothers.
Lillian Eckstein, 93, was a Czechoslovakia-born Holocaust survivor who moved to the U.S. as a teenager.
“I never met a person as interesting as Bubby Lillian,” Eckstein’s grandson, Eitan Levine, told ABC News. “She was smart, ferocious, cunning, stubborn, caring and full of energy.”
“She didn’t need fancy degrees or any formal training to make it in America — she just needed her own brain and unmatched work ethic,” Levine said.
Eckstein worked in real estate and finance as she and her husband raised two children. She is predeceased by her husband but survived by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild.
“She was a dominant real estate mogul and a loving human that would spoil her grandchildren with compliments any chance should could get,” Levine said.
“I also remember her sitting my 10-year-old sister down at the table and explaining how to read a quarterly report from Morgan Stanley,” Levine added. “Truly, there will never be anyone else like her.”
Gerald Glisson was the principal of operations at Eastside High School in Patterson, New Jersey.
“Dr. Glisson was a dedicated and caring educator who touched the lives of so many people during his 20 years working in Paterson Public Schools,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer.
Glisson also served as athletic director.
Eastside High School’s football team tweeted: “G pushed everybody in GhostAthletics to be the best they can be, he did a great job in putting the best staffs together for all sports and created a family environment for all of the school sports.”
“We will keep striving to make him proud,” the tweet continued. “He pushed excelling in the classroom as much as he pushed succeeding on the field because his main objective were to get his athletes to get an education and be the best adults that they can be in society.”
Glisson is survived by his wife of 21 years and his daughters, ages 17 and 12, said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
New Jersey doctor Harvey Hirsch was a “beloved” New Jersey pediatrician and a “fixture at Monmouth Medical Center,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
“He was known for his kindness and compassion,” Murphy said, “and the respect he showed his patients and their families.”
Despite the risk to himself, Hirsch “insisted on continuing to care for every patient” who needed help during the pandemic, the governor said.
John “Jack” Taylor, 84, was a longtime Republican legislator in Colorado.
Mark Barisonek, an employee of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), died on April 28, the agency said.
Barisonek was a TSA employee for 16 years and most recently worked at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
“Mark was one of Newark’s veteran officers in the checked baggage screening operation, always coming to duty with a positive attitude and willing to help out and support the mission,” the TSA said. “Mark was truly a kind person and was willing to do anything for his peers. He was a professional, dedicated and a well-liked teammate.”
Barisonek leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.
Debele, of Takoma Park, Maryland, is survived by her husband and three other children, WJLA said.
Maryland state Rep. Jamie Raskin tweeted, “Takoma Park mourns the terrible loss of Wogene Debele, an amazing woman and radiant, loving mother of four. Her memory will always be a beautiful blessing to our community.”
Deloris Dockery, 60, of Union, New Jersey, was a “champion and role model for countless women living with HIV,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
She learned she was HIV positive in 1994 but Dockery “never allowed that diagnoses to become a stigma,” Murphy said.
Dockery was a leader at the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, where she worked for 15 years. She was also the first woman to chair the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS.
She was “active in multiple advocacy groups for those living with HIV and quickly garnered a reputation” that was recognized around the world,” Murphy said.
“She was a hero,” Murphy said.
Harvey Feldman, 91, died from the coronavirus weeks after the same virus took the life of his wife of 66 years, Margit.
Harvey Feldman was born and raised in Brooklyn, and when he was in a hospital recovering from tuberculosis, he met Margit, who was a Holocaust survivor, said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
The Feldmans built a home in New Jersey and raised two children, one of whom is now a doctor, Murphy said.
Harvey Feldman owned the Doctors Medical Laboratory in Bound Brook, New Jersey. He “also found time to support Margaret in her work against prejudice and for tolerance and joined her as an advocate for holocaust and genocide education,” Murphy said.
Jerry Givens was Virginia’s chief executioner from 1982 to 1999, and later became an anti-death penalty activist, CNN reported.
He died on April 13 at the age of 67, CNN reported.
Givens said he presided over 62 executions during his time as chief executioner, according to The Associated Press.
“He was one of the few former executioners willing to speak about his experiences with the public,” Michael Stone, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, told the AP. “He spoke wherever, whenever and to whomever he could, trying to explain why the death penalty needs to end.”
Jay-Natalie La Santa
Jay-Natalie La Santa, just 5 months old, died from the coronavirus, her mother and the FDNY Hispanic Society confirmed.
“My baby girl was so beautiful,” her mom, Lindsey La Santa, told ABC News.
Jay-Natalie’s father, Jerel La Santa, is a New York City firefighter.
After weeks in the hospital, Jay-Natalie died on April 20, the Post reported.
The little girl wore a rose-gold dress with glitter roses at her funeral — the dress she was supposed to wear to her father’s firefighter graduation, the Post said.
Rufus McClendon Jr.
The Rev. Rufus McClendon Jr. was a pastor at the First-Park Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey.
He was the head chaplain of the East Jersey State Prison from 1994 until 2008.
“Every person who was in that prison was made in the image of God and he knew that and treated people like he knew that,” the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, who was mentored by McClendon, told NJ.com. “There was complete respect from him to the inmates, the inmates to him.”
He also spent 28 years as an educator with Newark Public Schools, said Gov. Phil Murphy.
McClendon died on April 9, NJ.com reported. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.
Richard Seaberry, 63, was an EMT in New York City.
He was a 30-year veteran who responded to rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, according to New York City’s Fire Department.
“For three decades, EMT Seaberry bravely served the City of New York, responding to thousands of medical emergencies. He was there so often during a New Yorker’s most desperate moments,” said FDNYT Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
“He was known as a kind soul, a true gentleman, and a dedicated partner,” the department said.
Seaberry is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Gary Walker, 53, was a police officer in Bloomingdale, New Jersey, for 20 years.
He previously was a firefighter and assistant chief of a fire company.
The Bloomingdale Police Department described him as a “selfless, dedicated officer” with a “golden heart,” who “flourished by bringing people together.”
Walker is survived by his wife and daughter.
Thomas Ward, 60, a mechanics supervisor with New York City’s Fire Department, died on April 27.
“He was known as a ‘gentle giant’ who greeted everyone with a smile,” the FDNY said.
Ward spent 26 years with the FDNY and most recently was a supervisor of the ambulance shop, responsible for the repair and maintenance of all FDNY ambulances.
Ward also spent 32 years as a volunteer firefighter in Massapequa, New York.
He is survived by two sons.
Update: April 24
Bennie Adkins, a Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2014, died on April 17, The Washington Post reported.
He was 86 years old.
Adkins had three deployments to Vietnam as a Green Beret, and his Medal of Honor citation said he showed “extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty,” the Post reported.
Adkins endured a “38-hour battle and 48-hours of escape and evasion,” the citation said, according to the Post. “Adkins fought with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms and hand grenades, killing an estimated 135 to 175 of the enemy and sustaining 18 different wounds.”
Adkins’ wife of 62 years died last year, the Post reported. He is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mohammed Chowdhury, an NYPD traffic section commander died on April 19, tweeted NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
“Mohammed, who would have marked 30 years of NYPD service next week, was revered by members of our Transportation Bureau,” Shea tweeted. “The prayers of a thankful city go out to his family & coworkers.”
Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, mother of Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl-Anthony Towns, died on April 13 at the age of 58, reported USA Today.
“The matriarch of the Towns family, she was an incredible source of strength; a fiery, caring and extremely loving person who touched everyone she met,” a family spokesperson said in a statement obtained by USA Today.
Cruz-Towns also worked at New Jersey’s Rutgers University for 20 years, New Jersey’s governor said.
The Timberwolves said in a statement, “In the four-plus years we were fortunate to know Jackie, she became part of our family. Her passion for life and for her family was palpable.”
“As Karl’s number one fan, she provided constant and positive energy for him and was beloved by our entire organization,” the Timberwolves said.
Margit Feldman, 90, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen concentration camps, died from coronavirus on April 14, said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Her parents were killed at Auschwitz but Feldman lied to the Nazis, and said she was 18, not 15, making her eligible to serve forced labor, Murphy said after speaking with her family.
Feldman was 16 when she was liberated. She moved to Sweden, and then in 1957 the U.S., where she became an X-ray technician.
She got married and started a family, and went on to be active in her New Jersey synagogue, Murphy said.
But “Margit’s legacy is best captured in her work to ensure the world never forgets the horrors of the Holocaust,” Murphy said. “She would share her story of survival and liberation with tens of thousands of students across the state and served as a founding member of both the New Jersey Holocaust Education Commission and the Holocaust and Genocide Institute at Raritan Valley Community College.”
“Margit gave us so much hope,” Murphy said. “May her memory be a blessing to her family and to us all.”
Herbert “Bert” Heaney served as a forensic scientist with the New Jersey State Police for 36 years, said Gov. Phil Murphy.
Heaney was a longtime resident of Maywood, New Jersey, and as a member of the town’s Board of Education, “he served the community for a number of years with dignity and commitment,” the school district said.
Heaney was also a Vietnam veteran and “continued his service to our nation in the U.S. Army Reserves,” the governor said.
Mondal was driven and dedicated, always the first to arrive to school and the last to leave, WABC reported.
His fellow teacher, Jessica St. Hilaire, told WABC, “He walked into my classroom and it was like playtime, kids would pop out of their seats and go over there and give him high fives, that’s who he was,” she said.
Rita Koslow Nadler
Rita Koslow Nadler, 88, of Montclair, New Jersey, died on April 8.
Nadler is survived by her children and grandchildren and was predeceased by her husband.
Nadler graduated from Smith College and earned a law degree from the University of Chicago, her son, Evan Nadler, told ABC News.
She practiced law for over 50 years, working as a family and divorce attorney, her son said.
Rita Nadler loved to travel. She and her children and grandchildren took a trip to Costa Rica in December as an early celebration for the 88-year-old’s 90th birthday, Evan Nadler said, because she wanted it to be an active vacation.
She walked two miles each day up until she was hospitalized, her son said.
John Redd, 63, was an EMT with New York City’s fire department.
He was a 26-year veteran who responded to the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, the FDNY said.
Redd also served as an assignment receiving dispatcher, during which he answered 911 calls and gave first aid instruction.
”When New Yorkers have a medical emergency they call 911 for help. EMT John Redd was the reassuring voice on the other end of that lifeline, talking to patients in need or families calling to bring badly needed care to a loved one,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
“Thousands and thousands of times in his career, EMT Redd quite literally answered the call for help in our city,” Nigro said. “He was a vital part of our emergency medical response and all of the FDNY mourns his loss.”
Redd is survived by his wife, Donna.
Linda Rini, 72, of Long Island, New York, died on April 8, according to her obituary.
Rini is survived by her children and grandchildren. Her husband died in 2006.
“Linda always said her greatest accomplishment was her family and her greatest joy was becoming a mother,” her obituary said. “No one could make her smile as brightly as her two young grandchildren. Her family and friends are heartbroken by this loss.”
Quentin Wiest died at the age of 107.
Wiest earned an engineering degree from George Washington University and pursued a career in the telecommunications industry.
He and his wife settled in Ridgewood, New Jersey, in 1975.
“He was, among other things, an expert bridge player. Even garnering a mention in “The New York Times,”” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said “He volunteered for the Red Cross and at a local nursing home.”
Wiest is survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Update: April 17
Madhvi Aya, 61, who worked at a hospital in Brooklyn, is survived by her mother, husband and 18-year-old daughter.
Aya immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1994, The New York Times reported. She had been an anesthesiologist and internist in India, and in the U.S., she became a senior physical assistant who helped younger colleagues, the Times reported.
As Aya grew sicker in the hospital, her daughter texted her, “I miss you mommy,” according to texts published in The New York Times.
“Please don’t give up hope because I haven’t given up,” she wrote. “I need my mommy. I need you to come back to me.”
Kejuane Bates, a police officer in Vidalia, Louisiana, died on April 1, said Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill.
“He was a son, husband, father, police officer, pastor, D.A.R.E. officer, coach, mentor and my friend,” Merrill said in a statement. “There are no words to take away the pain that our family, his family, and our community are going through right now.”
“Officer Kejaune Bates was a man of God and all I can think of is that this is God’s plan. Kejuane is rejoicing in Heaven right now,” the chief said. “We will get through this together as a Nation and community. Please keep Chelsea, Madison and all of Kejuane’s family in your prayers.”
Reno Boffice, principal of the Palm Beach Maritime Academy in Florida, died on April 14, the school said.
“His giant heart gave out, and we are devastated,” the school said in a statement. “There are no words to describe the loss.”
“Nobody liked a good joke better than Reno. He made the kids laugh, and they loved him,” Turchiaro said.
“He has been a principal for as long as I can remember,” his sister, Louise Boffice, had told ABC affiliate WPBF. “Really really loved by all.”
Robert Cardona was an NYPD detective and a Sept. 11 cancer survivor.
Cardona is survived by an 8-year-old son.
Cardona, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, was also a union delegate in the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
“Detective Robert Cardona was a caring and courageous Detective who protected every New Yorker for 19 years,” Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said in a statement. “Robert’s dedication to service did not stop with the public. As a union delegate, he also deeply cared for all of his fellow Detectives – and was there to help everyone. He will be sorely missed. Our prayers are with his son and loved ones, who we vow to always support.”
Anthony Causi, 48, a longtime photographer for The New York Post, died on Sunday.
Causi joined The Post in 1994 where he went on to cover New York City’s sports teams.
“He was, quite simply, one of the best sports photographers in New York City, capturing all the major moments of the past 25 years,” The Post’s editor-in-chief, Stephen Lynch, said in a statement released by the publication.
“Soft-spoken, funny, but most of all kind — he was respected by those he photographed and admired by those with whom he worked,” Lynch said. “The Post that you read, and the newsroom that we work in, are less colorful today because of his absence.”
He died on April 12, Easter Sunday, WBEZ reported.
“I could call Harold any time of day, any day of the week, any day of the year,” Jadine Chou, Chicago Public Schools Chief of Safety and Security, told WBEZ. “If one of our young people needed something, he was always there.”
“He wanted to make sure that all of our young people knew that they had just the brightest future,” Chou said.
Through his radio show, he argued for equality for the African American community, WBEZ said.
After graduating Harvard Law School in 1956, Fenwick went on to a career as a human rights official at the United Nations and as a private practice lawyer, The Times said. She also helped establish the Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell Disease, The Times said.
Jose Fontanez was a 29-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who “received numerous commendations for his dedicated service,” department said.
Fontanez, 53, a Boston native, loved law enforcement, his family and baseball. He leaves behind a wife, four children and a grandchild, The Boston Globe reported.
Fontanez was admitted to the hospital on April 3 and died on April 14, his family told the Globe.
“This is a devastating blow to his family and a blow to our city,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “As a police officer, he served our community and stood in harm’s way to protect us. Today we lost a hero.”
Daniel Francis, 51, was a criminal intelligence analyst with the Newark, New Jersey, police.
He died on April 13.
Francis first worked at the East Orange, New Jersey, Police Department and later spent 16 years as an investigator with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, working in narcotics, special victims and homicide, the Newark Public Safety Department said.
“Francis rose to the rank of Lieutenant and retired from the Prosecutor’s Office in 2017,” the public safety department said. “He later joined the Newark Police Division, where he served with distinction in the Major Crimes Division as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst.”
“Francis was a husband and the father of two adult children, a college student and a 6-year-old child,” the public safety department said. “He will be sorely missed.”
Eddy Germain served New Jersey for more than 30 years as an employee of the state’s Department of Transportation.
His last assignment was on structural analysis for the federal waiver on highway weight limits for truckers carrying COVID-19 relief supplies, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Gregory Hodge, 59, was a New York City EMT.
He was a 24-year veteran of the FDNY and was a responder to the Sept. 11 World Trade Center rescue and recovery efforts, the department said.
“EMT Hodge was a skilled first responder who provided outstanding emergency medical care to thousands of New Yorkers throughout his long and distinguished career of service,” FDNYT Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.
“This pandemic has impacted our Department at every level, especially our EMS members who are responding to more medical calls than ever before,” Nigro said. “Now, they will continue to bravely answer those calls with even heavier hearts, having lost one of their fellow EMTs to COVID-19. Our entire Department mourns his loss.”’
Paul Loggan, the athletic director of North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, died on April 12.
Loggan was a husband, father and the face of the athletic department for over 30 years.
He “modeled loyalty, dedication, passion and compassion,” Principal Evans Branigan said in a statement.
Loggan “was an unbelievable advocate for NC athletics and every student who ever donned an NC uniform,” said Director of Washington Township Secondary Schools, Rick Doss.
“While he wanted every NC team to win a state championship, he was he was an even bigger cheerleader for every NC athlete,” Doss said. “He knew the value of team sports but wanted every student to grow through his/her athletic experience because he knew those experiences would set him/her up for success beyond high school.”
Cliff Martin was a detective sergeant with the Chicago police.
“He was a Chicagoan through and through and he loved being a Chicago cop,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Martin, a 25-year veteran of the department, is survived by his wife and three children, said Mayor Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Two of his children are also Chicago police officers.
Lightfoot said she spoke with Martin’s wife, and that “even in her grief she said that her husband would want his death to serve as a warning to civilians that they must stay home.”
Sam McGhee was the first African American elected as mayor of Hillside, New Jersey, in the 1980s.
He was a member of the Hillside township committee, served on the Union County Improvement Authority, and was the Dean of Admissions at New Jersey City University for 32 years, said Gov. Phil Murphy.
Mary Ellen Porter
Mary Ellen Porter was a nurse at the Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, New York
“Mary Ellen personified the level of commitment and compassion that we strive for everyday,” the medical center said in a statement. “She was a dedicated nursing professional in our hospital for many years and she made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of her colleagues and patients.”
“While her guiding hand, humor and everyday presence will be sorely missed, her memory will live on in our hearts and minds forever,” hospital officials said.
Bernie Rubin, 82, was the founder of Bernie & Phyl’s, a chain of furniture stores in New England.
Rubin opened the first store with his wife in 1983 and they later expanded to nine stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, reported ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.
“He was one in a million,” said a statement on the Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture social media accounts. “He was honest, hard-working, fair and, above all, loved his family – which included his entire extended Bernie & Phyl’s family. He will be greatly missed.”
Francesco Scorpo, 34, was a police officer in Patterson, New Jersey.
He is survived by his wife and sons, who are 6 months old and 4 years old.
“Officer Scorpo was a dedicated public servant who served our profession and our community with pride, honor and distinction,” the Patterson Police Department said.
“A dedicated son, husband and father, Officer Scorpo, was a family man who cared so very much about people and his profession,” the department said. “He will be remembered not only for being an exemplary police officer, but as an exceptional and very special human being.”
Marie June Skender
Sister Marie June Skender, 83, died on April 7 at Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Greenfield, Wisconsin.
School Sisters of St. Francis said she “ministered in our community for 67 years, serving as an elementary school teacher, parish and school musician, and pastoral care minister in the diocese of Green Bay and in the archdioceses of Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Milwaukee.”
She lived at Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Greenfield since 2016, WISN reported.
Update: April 11
Chicago firefighter Mario Araujo, who joined the department in October 2003, died on April 7, the department said.
Araujo was also an Auxiliary Corporal with the Rosemont Public Safety Department, a community he served since 2015.
“We have lost a man of great significance and purpose. A selfless man that served not one, but two communities,” the Rosemont Public Safety Department said.
Reggie Bagala was a first-term Louisiana state representative.
“Just one month ago, he entered the Louisiana State Capitol with excitement and eagerness to serve the people of our great state and the people of House District 54, and today we mourn his loss,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted on April 9.
Bagala “was a profoundly honest and decent man, who loved unceasingly,” his son, Tristan Paul Bagala, wrote on Facebook. “His family, his culture, his LSU Tigers, his friends, and his home here on Bayou Lafourche. Our t-slice of the world will not be the same without such a pillar of our community and an example of the values we hold dearest.”
“A successful businessman, devoted family man, and active volunteer, Rep. Bagala spent his life making his community and south Louisiana a better place to live for everyone,” the governor tweeted.
Richard E. Barber Sr. was a senior deacon at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey. He was also a former deputy executive director of the NAACP, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said, and participated in the student protests in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1960.
Barber, 80, “never lost his passion for justice and community empowerment, the Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor at the church, said in an email to the Bridgewater Courier News.
“Barber was a leader and supporter of vision and the role that our church played in revitalizing our neighborhood,” Soaries said. “He was a role model and inspiration to those that want to live lives that matter.”
Albert Barber, who went by Vincent, was just 39 years old.
Figi’s family moved to Colorado after the state legalized cannabis, and at age 5, her mother gave her CBD which immediately changed the little girl’s condition, KMGH reported.
A representative for Realm of Caring, the non-profit tied to Figi’s cause, confirmed to ABC News that Figi’s death was due to complications of COVID-19.
According to KMGH, Figi family said in a statement on Facebook, “Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever.”
Joe Hansen was a conductor with New Jersey’s NJ Transit commuter trains.
His son, Brian, is an NJ Transit mechanic, said Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Joe positively impacted many lives as he served customers for more than 20 years,” NJ Transit officials said. “Joe was a well-loved member of the NJT family, and he will be deeply missed.”
“He was just 62 years old,” tweeted Gov. Murphy. “His wife, Denise, and the entire family, is in our thoughts and our prayers.”
Cody Lyster was a 21-year-old student at Colorado Mesa University, where he was a club baseball player and pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
Lyster formerly attended Rangeview High School in Aurora, Colorado.
“Cody was a kind hearted young man that was a perfect example of a true Raider,” his high school athletic department said.
Joanne Mellady, 67, died on March 30, 13 years after undergoing a double lung transplant, which gave her a “second life,” said her sister.
Mellady was diagnosed with a genetic condition in the early 1990s that made the transplant necessary, her sister, Jean Sinofsky, told ABC News.
While Mellady was sick she made a bucket list, her sister said. She went skiing, hand gliding, and most of all, traveling, from the Grand Canyon to Alaska to Florida, Sinofsky said.
Because she was vulnerable to any type of respiratory illness, she was always careful and wore masks while traveling on planes, her sister said.
“After the transplant, I mean she just loved life,” Sinofsky said. “She was just so thankful for this gift that she got from this other family that lost someone.”
Prea Nakieshore, 34, worked in the emergency department at a hospital in Queens, New York, where she registered patients.
Nakieshore, who died on April 5, is survived by her 8-year-old twin boys and her fiance, Marcus Khan, who she had known since high school.
“She loved working at the hospital… she loved to help people,” Khan told ABC News. “She wanted to do her part. She wanted to do a part.”
Nakieshore “was a dedicated mom” who “lived for her children,” Khan added. “She was the most honest, loving person I have ever met in my life… she will always be the love of my life.”
Larry Rathgeb was the engineer who led the team that built the first race car to reach 200 mph, driven by Buddy Baker in 1970.
Rathgeb died on March 22 at the age of 90.
Rathgeb’s long life included serving in the U.S. Army from 1948 to 1952, during which time he was part of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s honor guard and a mechanic in his motor pool, his son, Jeff Rathgeb, told ABC News.
Larry Rathgeb then received a degree in engineering and joined Chrysler which ran a program in the 1960s developing racecars for NASCAR.
Even at 90 years old, when Larry Rathgeb attended collectors events and automotive events, Jeff Rathgeb said his father was treated like a “rock star.”
For all of his success on the raceway, Jeff Rathgeb said his father was most proud of “the family he created and the friendships that he had.”
Detroit Fire Capt. Franklin Williams, 58, spent 32 years with the department.
“Frank is remembered as a kind and generous man,” Detroit Fire Legacy tweeted. “He will remain forever in our hearts.”
Update: April 8
Peter Armatis, 54, a coach and board member with the Fredericksburg Football Club in Virginia, died on April 1, the club said.
“Without a culture built on respect, hard work and empathy, you will only have a collection of individuals. We often spent hours talking about this, how to handle certain situations that arose, how to help players grow as people,” fellow coach Kevin Leahy said in a press release announcing Armatis’ death. “Peter was at his best when he was helping you work through a problem. He didn’t give you the solution, but would often just listen, ask a question and listen some more.”
Armatis was known as a mentor to those in and out of the soccer community, said the club’s recreation director, Adrian Batchelor.
“Peter put his best foot forward in everything that he did. He was passionate, competitive, caring, responsible,” Batchelor said. “He was a wonderful family man and his good nature just spilled over to everyone that he met… he will be missed immensely.”
Armatis is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.
Aldo Bazzarelli, owner of an Italian restaurant in New Jersey, died on April 6, according to his family.
The restaurant is such a beloved local joint that, after a forced closure and rebuild from Super Storm Sandy, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and then-Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno came to Bazzarelli’s re-opening ribbon cutting, NJ.com reported.
One day before Bazzarrelli’s death, his family posted that he was intubated and “in a fight for his life.”
Actor Jay Benedict died on April 4 from coronavirus, according to TCG Artist Management, which represented him.
Benedict, 68, was best known from 1986’s “Aliens,” 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and the British TV show “Emmerdale,” reported USA Today.
Pierce Brosnan, Benedict’s friend of over 40 years, wrote on Instagram, “This is a photo taken last May outside the stage door of the Lyric theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue London …the stage door was tucked in right next door to the Old Windmill Theatre. Jay and I played brothers in a Franco Zeffirelli production of Filumena.”
“Life was so much fun with Jay, on stage and off, we laughed a lot at the world around us, at our selves, saw the funny side of life always,” he wrote.
“He was a courageous man of handsome life force, that shone its light in every room he walked into, down every road he traveled, he shared his joyful radiance of kinship with all who knew him, a fine mind of intellect and compassion, he gave of himself in every way to the craft of acting, but above all else, he gave us all his great love of life, himself,” Brosnan wrote. “My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to his beloved wife Phoebe, his sons Leo and Freddie, my dearest God sons, peace be with you all dear hearts.”
Shannon Bennett was a deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida, where he served for 12 years.
Bennett was “an out and proud gay law enforcement deputy; a school resource officer who protected and mentored the young students at Deerfield Beach Elementary; a man in love to be wedded later this year,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.
“We love and will miss you, Deputy Bennett. Thank you for your bravery, your kind heart, and your service,” the department said.
Cheryl Catron, a civilian administrative aide with the Fairburn Police Department in Georgia, died on April 3, the department said.
“She was an important part of our team, someone that worked tirelessly to keep us up and running,” the department said. “We are heartbroken here. Losing a member of our Fairburn family is an awful thing to endure. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cheryl’s family, friends, and all those she loved. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”
Jose Diaz Ayala
Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, was a sergeant with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
He was battling other underlying health issues before he contracted COVID-19, the sheriff’s office said.
“Sgt. Diaz Ayala began his career at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in July of 2006. He was assigned to the Corrections Division where he worked as a Corrections Deputy until being promoted to Sergeant in January of 2016.
He is survived by three daughters.
Daisy Doronila, a single mom from Nutley, New Jersey, spent more than 20 years working as a nurse at the Hudson County Correctional Center.
“She gave tirelessly to her family and community,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.
Tony Greer, a member of the ABC News family, worked at “Good Morning America” as a studio camera operator since 2014. He died on April 7.
Greer was also an artist, passionate about filmmaking, music, art and fashion.
Greer and his longtime girlfriend, Robin, loved to travel, and each year attended Fashion Week in Paris.
Greer was a “total pro,” said ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. “He was a consummate gentleman. Such a lovely man, such a lovely spirit.”
“We loved every single moment we were blessed to spend and share with Tony,” added “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts. “Our condolences to his family in Chicago.”
To Greer’s mother, Roberts said, “Your son was a good man. He was kind, he was thoughtful, he was always a gentleman.”
He is survived by his girlfriend; his mother, Fannie; his brother, Kevin; his sister, Janet, and his nieces and nephews.
Anick “Nick” Jesdanun, 51, a deputy technology editor for The Associated Press and longtime AP employee, died on April 2, the publication said.
Jesdanun was the AP’s first reporter to be given the “internet writer” byline 20 years ago, the publication said. The AP was the only employer Jesdanun ever had.
“He had the deepest institutional memory of AP’s tech coverage and patiently educated dozens of novice colleagues in all things digital,” said Frank Bajak, the AP’s first technology editor.
He ran 83 marathons spanning every continent. He was also a movie buff and a photography lover.
Colette Lamothe-Galette, a former deputy commissioner at New Jersey’s Department of Health, “dedicated her life to improving the health of New Jerseyans,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Two years ago, the state’s Department of Health quoted her saying, “Though it’s hard to do, we must remember to take control of our own health first”
She most recently worked at the Nicholson Foundation which is “dedicated to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.”
The foundation said “Colette’s mission and memory live on through the work.”
Angel Leon, an NYPD Auxiliary Police sergeant, died on April 4.
“He served the NYPD, & the people of the Bronx, since 1981,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted. “All of NYC is keeping Angel’s family & friends in our prayers.”
“Thanks for being a great coach, teacher, friend and always a mentor and role model for your students,” the school district said.
He was also a former college athlete who played baseball at Marist College.
Luderer was “a young baseball coach whose love of the game pushed his players to new heights,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted. “Coronavirus has taken another New Jerseyan from us far too soon. Our hearts are with his loved ones and players, both past & present.”
He went on to teach at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, WCVB said.
McKinnell is survived by his wife, two daughters and four grandchildren, the Times said.
Brenda Perryman was a staple of the community in Detroit suburb Southfield, Michigan, where she taught high school speech and drama, launched an actor’s workshop and hosted a radio show reported ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ.
Perryman died on April 5, according to WXYZ.
Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence called Perryman “a beloved Southfield educator and community member.”
“Your dedication to building up the community you served will never be forgotten,” she wrote.
Former state Senator Ian Conyers wrote on Facebook, “When someone believes in you they encourage you, teach you and cover you. My dear friend Brenda Perryman was a mentor to so many who want to live free. She taught our proud history and illuminated the vision for Detroit’s future. We are so fortunate to have had her grace.”
Sandra Santos-Vizcaino, 54, who spent more than 20 years with New York City schools, was a third-grade teacher at P.S. 9 in Brooklyn, The Associated Press reported.
She died on March 31, according to P.S. 9 Principal Fatimah Ali.
Besides her son, she is survived by her husband and daughter, according to the Daily News.
Anthony Smith was a postal worker in the Detroit area who spent 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union said in a statement on April 1.
“Anthony was a veteran having served honorably in the Army for 12 years. He was married and loved kids; he helped raise fifteen children,” the union said. “Anthony loved music, a good barbeque and singing karaoke. He was a funny man that enjoyed telling jokes and spending time with family and friends. Anthony Smith will be deeply missed by family, friends and all that knew him.”
Dr. James Wilson, born in the Dominican Republic, lived in Bergen County, New Jersey, for the last 50 years, said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Wilson was a pioneering physician – in the 1960s he became one of the first Dominican physicians to open a clinic in the United States, where he tended to patients for more than 40 years,” Murphy tweeted.
Wilson and his wife recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary, Murphy said.
He is also survived by his six children.
Michael Yun was a councilman in Jersey City, New Jersey, first elected to the council in 2013.
He was active in volunteer work, including helping push for the building of Jersey City’s Korean War Veteran’s memorial.
“As Co-Chairman of Save Christ Hospital, he has helped lead the effort to preserve the hospital as an acute care medical facility,” his biography said.
“He was a great co worker and a tireless advocate for the people of #JerseyCity – More than that he was a great father, husband, and grandfather,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted. “I can speak for the entire JC community that we are devastated.”
Published April 4
Santa Rosa, California, police detective Marylou Armer “was a bright light in this organization,” Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro said.
Armer, who died on March 31, joined the Santa Rosa Police Department in evidence collection in September 1999. She became an officer in May 2008.
Armer’s most recent assignment was as a detective with the domestic violence and sexual aggression team.
Armer was a “thoughtful and committed public servant” who was “always proactive and there with a smile,” Navarro said.
“A hero remembered is never forgotten,” he said.
Francis “Frank” Boccabella III
Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, 39, was the first federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee to die from COVID-19.
Boccabella joined the TSA in 2004, working as an explosive detection canine handler at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
He then worked as a compliance inspector and then an explosive detection canine handler at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport.
“Frank was dedicated to protecting the traveling public with his canine partner, Bullet, a 6-year-old German Short-haired Pointer and his previous canine partner, Zmay,” the TSA said. “Frank and his canine partners screened hundreds of thousands of passengers, keeping them and the transportation network safe.”
“His passing represents a personal loss to all of us who knew him and cherished both his friendship and professionalism,” the TSA said. “We offer heartfelt condolences to Frank’s wife, extended family, his TSA colleagues and his friends.”
James Brown, 48, was the principal of Grover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwell, New Jersey, since 2012.
“He leaves behind his wife, Sherry, his three children, and an entire school community who loved him dearly,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted.
In a statement, the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public School District said Brown “introduced a House System to foster team-building and school spirit, and he created an Advisory/Enrichment Program that allows students to develop networks of support and to explore their interests.”
“He brought in many speakers from all walks of life to provide students with models of determination, grit, and commitment to helping those in need. Mr. Brown’s unmatched dedication to community service inspired students, faculty, and parents to focus on compassion for our fellow citizens and to make a difference every day,” read the statement. “We mourn the loss of a wonderful colleague who enriched our lives with his kindness, intelligence, and humor, we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”
Judith Conkey, Lewis Conkey, David Conkey
Three members of an Ohio family — Judith Conkey, her husband Lewis Conkey and their son David Conkey — all died from coronavirus.
“My uncle passed away first and then my grandmother and my grandfather, they both passed the same day,” Judith and Lewis Conkey’s granddaughter, Katie Garbrandt, told ABC News.
“Everyone’s deterioration went pretty quickly,” she said. “My grandparents did know that they were in the same hospital and they could communicate by phone, but they didn’t know one’s condition one day from the next. And we didn’t tell my grandparents when my uncle had passed away. They were on life support and we just we just couldn’t do that.”
“I don’t know if there’s a word to describe how close-knit we are,” Garbrandt said. He said his grandparents were married in 1963 and “did everything together. … They were always there for us.”
“Take it seriously,” Garbrandt said of the virus. “We want to spare any family we can from the trauma that we’re going through. We can’t have funeral the proper way. We can’t grieve with our friends and our family. And it just makes everything 10 times worse.”
Cedric Dixon, 48, was a New York Police Department detective who served the city for 23 years, according to the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
“We are hurting, we are crying and we continue to fight,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
“I’ve spoke to many of his friends and coworkers since this morning. He was known as the person who would do anything to help you,” Shea said. “He is going to be so sorely missed.”
Larry Edgeworth was a longtime NBC News employee.
Edgeworth, who died on March 19, most recently worked in an equipment room at NBC News’ New York headquarters. He spent 25 years as an NBC News audio technician, traveling around the world with producers and correspondents, before working in an equipment room at the network’s New York headquarters, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said.
“He was truly one of the nicest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” wrote NBC News meteorologist Dylan Dreyer. “Through the coldest snowstorm, he always had a smile on his face. … I’ll miss this wonderfully kind man very much.”
Edgeworth is survived by his wife and two sons.
Angel Escamilla was a pastor with the Calvary Church of Naperville in Illinois.
“I personally found Pastor Angel to be a man of strong faith in the Lord, a man in the Word, and a man of GREAT prayer!” wrote Pastor Marty Sloan. “If anyone ever spoke into the heavens in prayer, it was Pastor Angel. He will be forever missed on our team and in the church family.”
Paul Frishkorn, 65, had been a flight attendant with American Airlines since 1997 and was based in Philadelphia.
“Over the years he built a reputation as a consummate professional who was honored as a Flight Service Champion twice,” said a statement from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “He was also a knowledgeable benefits consultant and servant leader for his colleagues through his work with the Association of Flight Attendants while at US Airways and later, with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.”
Dr. Frank Gabrin, a New Jersey emergency room doctor, “was committed to health care” and always wanted to be a doctor, his friend of 20 years, Debra Vasalech Lyons, told ABC News.
“He had survived a lot of things. Not only did he survive two bouts of cancer, he was part of emergency medicine during the AIDS epidemic,” she said.
In Gabrin’s emergency room, the coronavirus pandemic “went from manageable to unmanageable almost overnight,” Lyons said.
“He said, ‘Look, the gloves that I have a size medium, I’m an extra large. Every time I put them on, they break. I’ve had to use this week my mask for four shifts,'” she recalled. “The hand-washing stations, they were so busy. They were running out of soap.”
When Gabrin fell ill with coronavirus symptoms, he self-quarantined at home, she said.
Lyon recalled Gabrin telling her: “I’m very grateful that I have it mild. Within a couple of weeks I’ll be through this and I’ll have the antibodies and be ready to go back to work.”
Gabrin is survived by his husband.
Ron Golden was the brother of Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.
She wrote on Instagram, “To many, he’ll be a statistic: Tennessee’s second COVID-related death. But to me, I’ll remember a loving, older brother, uncle, father, and husband.”
“Ron was a tough-as-nails Marine who was a big teddy bear on the inside,” Flanagan wrote.
Flanagan wrote that Golden was diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago.
“His immune system was compromised and he contracted COVID-19,” she wrote. “He was put in a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator. He fought it as hard as he could but it was simply too much for his body. THIS is why we must #StayHome.”
Golden died on March 21.
Dr. James Goodrich was a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center.
Goodrich, who died on March 30, specialized in children with complex neurological conditions and created an approach for separating twins who are fused at the brain and skull, according to the medical center, where he worked for three decades.
In 2016, he famously led a team of doctors in a 27-hour-long procedure to separate 13-month-old twin boys.
Goodrich was not only a “pioneer” in his field, but also “a humble and truly caring man” remembered for baking holiday cookies and delivering them to the Children’s Hospital nurses each year, Montefiore Medical Center officials said in a statement.
“Dr. Goodrich was a beacon of our institution and he will be truly missed,” Montefiore Medicine CEO Dr. Philip Ozuah said in a statement. “His expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner.”
Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, of the New Jersey National Guard, was a drilling guardsman in the medical command and a civilian physician assistant.
His daughter, Shandrea Hickok, says her favorite memories are the adventures her father took her and her brother on.
“He loved to travel and take us to parks, museums, battleships, military bases, movie theaters, beaches, and restaurants,” Shandrea Hickok said in a statement. “He also loved to go hiking, including up in the mountains of Utah where I went to school or on the Appalachian Trail where he lived in Pennsylvania. He enjoyed learning about wilderness survival and attended many medical conferences that had outdoor trainings.”
“I love how caring and devoted my dad was,” she said. “He traveled a lot for work but would drive hours to visit my brother and I. When I graduated college last year in Utah, he flew out to Utah and got a rental truck to drive me back to the East Coast. We had great memories driving through the Rocky Mountains.”
His sister, Mary Hickok Scott, called her brother “fearless” and said he “kept serving others, even at his own risk! He loved medicine & he fought for the best treatments for his patients. My brother loved serving his country.”
Jeff Hopkins, 41, who died on April 1, was a deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.
He had been with the department since 2001 and leaves behind his wife, Wendy.
Kim King-Smith, who died on March 31, was an EKG technician working the night shift at the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, President and CEO of the hospital.
“We lost a great one,” Elnahal tweeted. “Kim King-Smith was a hero.”
“She was a front line hero. God bless her,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Silvia Melendez, from Utah, was just 24 years old.
According to her brother, her immune system was weakened from an open heart surgery two years ago,
“She’s the one that helped a lot of people, very open heart, and amazing, amazing. I will miss her, I will miss her so much,” her father, Marcos Melendez, told CBS affiliate KUTV in Salt Lake City.
“You could communicate with Silvia through your looks and she would give you these eyes and you would already know what she was saying, and she would know what you were saying,” her friend Acacia Probert told KUTV.
Her family said they plan to hold a celebration of life once quarantine has ended.
Maria Mercader, 54, was a cancer survivor and a CBS News journalist for three decades, joining the network in 1987.
“Even when she was hospitalized — and she knew something was going on at CBS, she would call with counsel, encouragement, and would say ‘you can do this,'” Zirinksy said. “I called Maria a ‘warrior,’ she was. Maria was a gift we cherished.”
“The Maria we are privileged to call family and friend knew better than most the power of relationships, loyalty, faith, kindness, perseverance and a smile, even when a smile defied the darkness of the moment,” added Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, CBS News’ EVP of strategic professional development. “Her notable professional contributions are part of the CBS Archives, but it is her magnificent human spirit that touched so many of us, that will stay with us forever.”
MaryBeth Papetti, 65, who is survived by her husband, son and daughter-in-law, “devoted her life to her family and her work in the healthcare field,” according to her obituary.
After becoming a registered nurse, Papetti, who died on March 24, became the director of nursing at several long-term care facilities in New Jersey,
“MaryBeth was known for going above and beyond in her career, not only because of her dedication to her patients, but also for being an inspirational role model to her colleagues,” her obituary said.
“She especially found joy in planning family gatherings, in particular her annual family Christmas Eve party,” and recently helping plan her son and daughter-in-law’s wedding.
Papetti was also an aunt of an ABC News employee.
Phillip Perry was the principal of G.W. Carver Middle School in Texas.
“Mr. Perry has been a role model to countless students in our district and in his neighborhood,” said a statement from the Waco Independent School District. “He cared deeply for his students and colleagues at G.W. Carver Middle School, providing guidance and support at any time.
“In addition to serving as principal at Carver, Mr. Perry often umpired local baseball games and refereed basketball games, offering words of encouragement to young athletes.”
Sypraseuth “Bud” Phouangphrachanh
Sypraseuth “Bud” Phouangphrachanh, a deputy sheriff with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, died on March 31 and is survived by his wife and five children, said Sheriff Chris Watkins.
“During his service to Montgomery County he filled many roles, but his passion was as a School Resource Officer where he worked with middle school and high school students,” Watkins said. “His dedication to youth led him to attend DARE Instructor Training, which he loved and believed in as a tool to better his community.”
Janice Preschel, 60, of Teaneck, New Jersey, “was the founder of the Helping Hands Food Pantry that has fed countless families for more than a decade,” tweeted New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
“She was active in her temple – Temple Emeth – and was a past president of the Teaneck Rotary,” he wrote.
Wayne Reese Sr.
Wayne Reese Sr., 74, was a beloved high school football coach in New Orleans.
Reese played football for Tennessee State and the Los Angeles Rams before spending more than 40 years as a head coach in his native New Orleans, reported Nola.com.
“He was a great man and role model and assisted so many inner-city student-athletes in getting to college and getting a degree,” the Louisiana High School Coaches Association told ABC News.
Isaac Robinson was a state representative for Michigan’s 4th House District.
“Rep. Isaac Robinson had a huge heart, a quick wit, and a genuine passion for the people,” tweeted Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “He was a fierce advocate for Detroiters and people across Southeast Michigan.”
“He dedicated his career to ensuring justice and security for those he served, and the impact he had on his community will continue to be felt for years to come. Rep. Robinson will be missed by many, including me,” she tweeted. “It was an honor to serve the people of Michigan alongside him.”
Robinson died on March 29.
Dan Spector was a Memphis artist who was gifted from an early age, his younger sister, Rachel Spector Peak, told ABC News.
After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, Spector launched a career in industrial design and started his own company for architectural molds and reproductions, Peak said.
“I’m on overload right now,” she said.
Peak said her brother’s funeral was held online, which she said was a “tremendous help.”
“It was very painful. I mean to watch your brother get buried by video – to watch your brother period get buried is painful,” she said. “At least I was able to see him and I could hear the rabbi’s prayers and I could see the other people that were there, you know, on my iPad.”
Israel Tolentino Jr.
Israel Tolentino Jr. was a firefighter in Passaic, New Jersey, who came on the job in December 2018.
“He was liked immediately. A wonderful, wonderful person. And he fit right in to that tour and made it his home,” his fire chief, Patrick Trentacost, told ABC News. “We are family… we are there for 24 hours. We sleep there. And we laugh together and we cry together.”
Tolentino “was always happy to jump in” to do fire education at local schools, said Trentacost.
The chief said that what made it especially difficult was that they couldn’t give him the full honors they normally would bestow on a fallen member.
“We did our best, but we had to keep our distance. We had to maintain our personnel in the vehicles,” Trentacost said. “We have to set the example for safety. We have to set the example of social distance. And we did it. We gave as much respect and honor as we possibly could. Certainly we couldn’t go there and hug his wife Maria, who is a tremendous person. We couldn’t hug his kids.”
James Villecco, 55, was an auto mechanic with New York City’s fire department, most recently working in the ambulance repair shop.
“Behind the thousands of calls our members respond to every day is a team of dedicated and skilled mechanics who ensure our ambulances are running 24/7,” said Daniel Nigro, Commissioner of the FDNY. “James Villecco was one of those truly unsung heroes in our Department whose outstanding work provided medical care for the people of our city. The entire Department mourns his loss.”
Villecco, who died on March 29, lived in State Island and served six years in the Army, the FDNY said.
He is survived by his wife, Joy, and daughter, Jessica.