As we do every week, we take time now to commemorate the lives of five people lost to COVID-19, as remembered by their loved ones.
Ronald Verrier’s loud, strong laugh gave comfort to his patients at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, New York, where he worked as a surgeon. His colleagues remembered him as a rare combination, a good brain, good hands, and a good heart.
Born in Haiti, Ronald rushed back when the 2010 earthquake struck to volunteer however he could. His sister said that was who the 59-year-old was, always the first to help.
Elizabeth Massman, or Betty to her family and friends, moved some 26 times in her early life, and her daughter said she made lasting connections wherever she went. She pursued her education while her children were growing up, and became a school nurse, and later an advocate for children in need.
Her daughter said 91-year-old Betty was the family’s rock, and never lost her love of adventure, traveling the world, hiking and cycling well into her later years.
Tony Murray’s husband, Mark, remembered knowing he was the one from the day they met at an educators conference in 1995. He said Tony was a great cook, famous for preparing enough ribs and fried fish to feed an army. He worked for the YMCA in New York City, where he loved working with children on concerts and plays.
Tony became a mentor to his nephew, Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, and walked beside Jason in Boston’s Gay Pride Parade. Tony was 60 years old.
Bob Green was a true Montana cowboy, his family remembered, with a gruff exterior, but a soft heart and a presence you could always count on. After four tours to Vietnam with the Navy, the wide open spaces of his native state called him home again.
Bob, who lived to be 83, took pride in tending to the green spaces in their small community of Trout Creek, and his dream was to build a playground there for children to enjoy. The community will build that playground this year, and name it after Bob Green.
Pastor David Gilmore radiated kindness from his pulpit at New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Baltimore. He was active in the church all his life. It’s where he met his wife, Lea, when they were young.
Lea described his president as Santa Claus 365 days a year, a jolly guy with a beard. She said she sees the qualities she treasured most in him embodied in his two sons. David was 59 years old.
And our thanks to family members for sharing these stories with us. Our hearts go out to you, as they do to everyone who’s lost a loved one in this pandemic.