Charles Correia was a lifelong resident of New Bedford. His parents emigrated from Portugal early in the 20th century, and Charles was born in the city in 1928.
He was a proud veteran, serving in the Army in Korea as a private first class, returning home to New Bedford to marry his late wife, Anna Lawrence Correia. Like many of the era, Charles worked in the textile industry until his retirement. He repaired looms for Dartmouth Finishing, where fabrics were also bleached and dyed. Charles died on Aug. 24, 2020, at the age of 92.
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For the last 10 years of his life, after his wife died, Charles lived with his niece, Suzanne Braga.
When the pandemic struck, Suzanne was cautious not to infect her elderly uncle. Even while living in the same home, they remained in separate parts of the house, wearing masks when they went on walks or took long drives through the city. But Suzanne, a secretary at New Bedford High School, still had to work. And while she was working Charles would receive daily assistance from a care attendant.
One day in late August, Charles woke up too confused to take his pills. Suzanne rushed him to urgent care. His oxygen levels were low, and he was transferred to the hospital, where he tested positive for the novel coronavirus and showed early signs of pneumonia. Charles died four days later in the COVID-19 ward at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Suzanne said she was worried about him during that time. He had a hearing impairment, caused by the rumbling looms he spent his career repairing, so she couldn’t speak to him over the phone. On the day Charles died, she had her only contact with him. She waited in a long line stretching out of the hospital, where nurses were collecting gifts to deliver to the family members inside. Suzanne gave him a sugar-free candy, a copy of The Standard-Times, which he read every day until his last, and a note reassuring him that he was in good hands.
“I’m so glad I was able to do that, because that was the night he passed,” Suzanne said.
He was buried at St. John’s Cemetery.
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