One of Joaquin “Jack” Teixeira’s greatest joys in life was buying a moped and riding the little motorbike around New Bedford.
“He absolutely loved that,” said Barbara Pires, who had a lifelong close relationship with her uncle and became his caregiver in later life.
Pires, of New Bedford, also said Teixeira enjoyed traveling and loved going anywhere near the water.
“We used to take rides down to (Provincetown), where he loved to sit by the ocean,” she said.
Teixeira, who was born in western New York and moved to New Bedford with his family at a young age, died July 17, 2020, from COVID-19. He was 85.
Pires said her uncle was a “bubbly” person who got along well with people. He was also a very private person. “He didn’t like to dish out his laundry anywhere and tell a lot of people too much about himself,” Pires said.
Teixeira’s parents — the late Joaquin and Christina Santos Teixeira — both emigrated from Portugal and settled in Dunkirk, New York. He was one of 11 children. The close-knit family moved to New Bedford because jobs were easier to find and the cost of living was more affordable.
Teixeira served three years as a U.S. Army infantryman during peacetime in the 1950s. He later worked as a tile installer for Arde Tile, and held jobs at Furtado’s Dairy and later at Joe and Pesky’s Garage.
He moved in with his mother after getting divorced. Pires, who lived in the upstairs apartment, became close with her Uncle Jack.
“We used to go to Pa Raffa’s to eat. We’d go to Burger King. We would always hang out together,” she said. “As he got older, instead of him taking care of me and buying me something, I was taking care of him.”
Teixeira, never having children of his own, considered Pires, her children and grandchildren to be like his kids. Pires arranged for him to be placed at the CareOne nursing home in New Bedford after a series of health setbacks. When the pandemic struck last year, Pires still visited him.
“I would go see him and talk to him through the window,” she said.
On July 14, 2020, Pires said her uncle “didn’t sound right” when she called him that morning. He was having difficulty breathing, and had to be admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19.
Teixeira hung on to life for three days. During that time, Pires talked to him through the FaceTime app. On the day he died, a nurse put the phone near Teixeira’s ear so Pires could talk to him for the last time.
“I told him he could go in peace,” she said.
After a private burial, Pires invited immediate family to her house for a cookout in her uncle’s memory.
“He loved coming to my house for cookouts. He was always eating,” said Pires, who is reminded of her Uncle Jack whenever she sees a black and white dog that resembles his beloved pet, Duchess.
Said Pires of her uncle, “He was my buddy.”
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