In Depth: COVID-19
The New Bedford Light examines the pandemic’s toll on the city
As the city emerges from the long siege of COVID-19, we pause to take stock of what – and whom – we’ve lost. The virus claimed more than 400 people in New Bedford. Here, we pay tribute to their lives. Please help build this community memorial by adding a tribute to your loved one.
June 4, 2021
An analysis of New Bedford death certificates reveals a surprising cluster of deaths among elderly residents who worked for decades when the textile and apparel industry was at its peak.
Work in the mills may have allowed New Bedford residents to make a living, but it was never a good living for most. And it was never an easy life.
In the past year, some social clubs in New Bedford have closed their doors, perhaps even permanently. The Young Cape Verdean Athletic Association and the Elks Lodge have listed their properties for sale.
Columnist Jack Spillane surveys the pandemic’s toll on New Bedford, from the Latino community to health care workers.
After suffering three strokes, a heart attack and double pneumonia, the WBSM host tells columnist Jack Spillane he does not know for sure whether he literally died.
Death certificates obtained by The New Bedford Light show the elderly and younger Black and Hispanic residents have borne the heaviest burden.
Two local families are still coping with lingering ailments and uncertainty months after initial infections.
Life tributes to those who’ve died in the pandemic
Arthur Alcock, who lived most of his life in New Bedford, died from COVID-19 complications on June 4, 2020, at St. Luke’s Hospital.
He didn’t speak much about the war (in Vietnam), but told his nephew about how his unit had fired rounds at the enemy for 30 days straight.
Paul Babineau was hoping to meet his newborn granddaughter, but he never got that chance. He died of COVID-19 on Oct. 30, 2020, just days after being admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital.
Shortly after his sister, Ana Madeira arrived at St. Luke’s Hospital, her brother’s heart gave out. Just like that, he was gone.
Alice Bernier was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 and died at St. Luke’s Hospital on June 6. She was 96.
They both died at St. Luke’s Hospital on April 2, 2020 – just three hours and 20 minutes apart. Jay was 78; Marilyn was 73.
‘They did everything together. … In their earlier years, they enjoyed going out on the weekends, listening to music and dancing at Cafe Portugal.’
She contracted COVID-19 last year and died from the disease on June 12, 2020, at Care One of New Bedford.
After retirement, she spent her days participating in activities at Melville Towers, where she had lived for many years.
After graduating from Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, Michael P. Cassidy enlisted in the Marines and fought in Operation Desert Storm. He died on April 28, 2021, after a long battle with COVID-19.
He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He died four days later.
“She took care of her patients with that same kindness and always attended to the person, not just the disease.”
After battling COVID-19 for three weeks at St. Luke’s Hospital and then back at the nursing home, Couto died on May 4, 2020.
Her son believes she contracted the novel coronavirus at her husband’s funeral in mid-March; she died of COVID-19 on April 5, 2020.
He worked as a forklift operator at Decas Cranberry Co. and died Oct. 30, 2020, of Covid-19 complications.
In September of 2020, both Virgilio and his wife, Maria, contracted COVID-19 from a friend. Maria survived, but Virgilio succumbed to the virus after a week-and-a-half at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Fortes contracted COVID-19 at the beginning of this year. He was hospitalized on Jan. 4, and never returned home.
She was 76 and living at the Alden Court Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center in Fairhaven when she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. She died five days later at St. Luke’s Hospital.
She was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital, where she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. She died June 11, 2020, from COVID-19 complications.
While hospitalized for Alzheimer’s, her whole unit contracted COVID-19. She died less than a week later on May 26, 2020.
In the last few years of his life, he was in and out of nursing homes, and was admitted to the geriatric psychiatric unit at St. Anne’s Hospital.
Fred Kalisz died from COVID-19 complications on Jan. 27, 2021. He was 63 years old.
‘She was a very feisty spirit, sometimes stubborn. … A simple, yet classy lady, who always wore makeup and loved clothes and shoes — right until the very end.’
She graduated from New Bedford High School and socialized with friends at Lincoln Park and the Sixth Bristol Social Club — popular spots where she met her future husband.
In the 1970s, she worked with physically disabled people, bringing them to parks, the YMCA and other recreational spots.
“They always tried to help the poor. If they had 10 cans at home, they would give half to the needy.”
She had difficulty breathing and went on a ventilator. She died from COVID-19 at St. Luke’s Hospital on July 2, 2020.
He was a gifted guitarist who could adapt to any style from classic rock to Dixieland jazz, flawlessly meshing with bandmates on any song in any key.
She died on Aug. 15, 2020, from COVID-19 complications, at the CareOne nursing home in New Bedford.
Tarby was a fun-loving guy who people liked to be around. He would just go up and talk to total strangers.
Robert John Rose, a New Bedford native who fought with valor in the Korean War, died of COVID-19 on July 17, 2020.
Mother of four, who enjoyed going to the beach, gardening and dancing, died from COVID-19 complications on May 24, 2020.
He was diagnosed with COVID-19 at St. Luke’s Hospital, but his body rejected medical treatments and began to shut down. He was placed on life support on June 1, 2020, and died about two weeks later.
He was the truck-driving father figure who helped people move from house to house. He was the handyman with a magic touch for electrical work.
She liked reading, attending senior citizen activities at Brooklawn Park and going to church bazaars and penny sales.
Maria Silva died of complications related to COVID-19 on Nov. 27, 2020. She was 90 years old.
‘He knew a little bit of everything. … He was good with math and numbers, and fixing things with his hands.’
She was the glue that held the family together, said her son.
Souza and his wife both contracted COVID-19 in late December of 2020. Ida recovered, but Dale had to be intubated and died at St. Luke’s Hospital on Jan. 21, 2021.
The one foe Emil Spanner couldn’t push through was COVID-19. He died from the disease on June 7, 2020.
Joan Stratton had lung issues and died at St. Luke’s Hospital on Feb., 12, 2021, from complications due to COVID-19. She was 70 years old.
She married Robert Sullivan in 1946, and the couple lived together in New Bedford for 50 years — raising five children until Robert’s death in 1996.
He was having difficulty breathing, and had to be admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19 and died three days later on July 17, 2020.
Antonio Vieira worked for AFC Cable, but he injured his back on the job and later held a variety of odd jobs. He died July 2, 2020, from COVID-19.
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