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A tribute to the Floridians taken by the coronavirus

They were parents and retirees, police officers and doctors, imperfect but loved deeply. They got sick in the middle of big plans, just before anniversaries and birthdays and trips.

The state lists the dead in a grim, and growing, table. Age, gender, county. A 28-year-old man in Sarasota County, a 101-year-old woman in Miami-Dade. But we don’t know all their names or how they lived.

The Tampa Bay Times is telling the stories of the Floridians we’ve lost. You’ll find a start below.

It’s not so much the future of humanity at risk, an infectious disease specialist in Tampa has said, but — as we lose many of our elders — our collective wisdom.

We need your help. Did you lose a loved one to coronavirus? Please help us share their story by filling out this form.

* * *

Gregory Aarons Sr., 58, St. Petersburg

Gregory Aarons Sr. was born in Pensacola, the second of six children. He served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and attended California State University, San Bernardino, where he pledged Phi Beta Sigma. He maintained an active membership throughout the remainder of his life.

He and his wife, Deborah, relocated several times before settling in Florida.

Mr. Aarons worked as a sales executive at a number of media companies, including the Tampa Tribune. He retired from AutoTrader in 2017. He was an active member of New Beginnings Community Church in St. Petersburg.

“He was an active and engaged father who coached and mentored many young and not-so-young people,” his obituary said. “He was an effective and caring counselor and helped to lead those he counseled in the right direction to find their life’s purpose.”

[PBS Western Region]

Antonio Aguilar, 79, Dade City

Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Antonio Aguilar and his wife, Emerita, moved together to Dade City in search for more opportunity. Family members said he was a dedicated worker and family man who loved God.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Ever Loved]

Judy C. Allen, 70, St. Petersburg

Judy Allen, a nurse for 40 years, loved any reason to celebrate. For birthdays, she cooked her friends their favorite dishes and made them wear yellow hats while everyone sang Happy Birthday. Her Thanksgivings were legendary, and she always decorated her Christmas tree with a different theme.

“We know heaven just got a little louder,” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Margaret “Muggy” Allison, 95, St. Petersburg

A lifelong resident of St. Petersburg, Muggy Hennessy Allison worked as a nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital before leaving to raise her children. She volunteered at schools, including her alma mater, St. Petersburg High School, where she organized class reunions. Allison and her husband were among the first residents of Bayfront Tower Condominiums, where she lived for 39 years and served on the board. In her downtime, Allison loved crosswords, bridge and golf — and lauding her two holes-in-one over her husband, who taught her the game but hadn’t achieved the same score.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Anderson McQueen]

Mitchell Alvins, 73, Brooksville

During the Vietnam War, Mitchell Alvins enlisted in the Army and worked as a combat photographer. He stayed active with other veterans after coming home.

Mr. Alvins started a photography program at Baldwin High School and worked there while earning a master’s degree. He also worked as a wedding photographer for more than 30 years.

In Florida’s warm weather, Mr. Alvins became an avid softball player. He passed away at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.

[Hillsborough County medical examiner, Veteran’s Funeral Care]

Natverlal Amin, 90, Clearwater

Born in Kenya in 1929, Natverlal Amin was still young when he moved to India to live with his grandmother. He returned to teach chemistry before setting out for England to study pharmacy. Eventually, he bought his own business. In 1985, he was lured to the sunny, year-round golf haven of West Palm Beach.

When his beloved wife died in 1997, he moved again, this time to live with family in Clearwater. Three times a week, he could be seen on the links at Belleair Country Club, weather permitting.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Eunice Angelone, 95, St. Petersburg

Eunice Angelone was originally from England. She met her husband, an American soldier, during World War II and first traveled to the United States on a boat.
Eunice Angelone was originally from England. She met her husband, an American soldier, during World War II and first traveled to the United States on a boat. [ Eunice Casey ]

Eunice Angelone was born in England and met her husband, an American soldier, during World War II. She came over to the United States on a boat when she was 19 and raised a family in Lawrence, Mass., her daughter said.

After her husband died, she settled in St. Petersburg, where the family had wintered. She lived in Long Bayou for more than 30 years. “She had a lot of friends and had dances and dinners, and she was very, very active until last year,” her daughter said.

Ms. Angelone was a resident of Seminole Pavilion at Freedom Square.

[Tampa Bay Times, Eagle-Tribune]

Harry Ardes, 71, Trinity

Born in Pennsylvania, Harry Ardes took his love of Philadelphia sports with him down to Florida, with family joking he was a “wannabe Penn Stater.” As a young man, Ardes served as a radio operator in the U.S. Navy and then went on to work as a sheet metal assembler and union representative. After retiring in 2013, he enjoyed being “Pop Pop” full-time to his three grandsons.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Pinecrest Funeral Chapel]

Nguyen Dinh Ap, 75, Pinellas Park

Born in Vietnam, he served as a lieutenant commander in the Vietnamese Navy. Father of three and grandfather of seven, Mr. Ap was anything but selfish. His obituary reads: “His passion for boating, fishing, friends and most of all family will be carried with him forever.”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Charles “C.I.” or “Charley” Babcock, III, 67, Clearwater

C.I. Babcock served as an elder and Bible study teacher at Harborside Christian Church. He worked in home building and, in 1981, founded Cornerstone Communities, Inc. He sat on boards of favorite causes, such as Family First, which advises people on parenting and marriage, and Vincent House, which helps those with mental illnesses find stable work.

“Charley had a heart to serve his community, and in particular, to help those who are frail and vulnerable,” his obituary says. His family asked that people donate to his favorite causes.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Valerie Baird, 62, Nokomis

Valerie Baird loved living off the water and everything that came with it — swimming, fishing, boating and surfing. She also enjoyed playing racquetball, pheasant hunting and had a passion for her sales job, where she was one of the top sellers. Family wrote that Baird was unapologetically herself and that “hopefully, wherever Val is now — she gets to be that version of herself.”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Zvonko Barisic, 64, St. Petersburg

He survived the Yugoslavian War, “saving many people that were injured,” fled from his native Bosnia to Croatia and eventually sought refuge in the U.S. in 1998. Even in his short obituary, Zvonko Barisic’s life looms large.

Car mechanic, electrician, crane operator, truck driver, sound and light engineer — he could fix and build anything by hand, including the homes of family and friends. To watch him work was a joy. He liked to travel to the Balkans to see family and had a long list of hobbies and loves, from rescuing animals to fishing to festivals. Above all, he loved his wife, Rada, with whom he fell in love at age 17, and his big family. Children often ran to him, seeing their innocence and playfulness reflected back to them.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Bob Barnum, 64, St. Petersburg

Robert E. Barnum’s real estate website called him a “moving force” in business, but his influence extended well beyond his work. After his death March 27, friends described him as “a pioneer among LGBT Realtors” and “a pusher” for the causes in which he believed, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Community Action Stops Abuse.

“I bought the first home I owned by myself through Bob,” wrote Equality Florida’s Executive Director Nadine Smith. “He had all the dirt on The Golden Girls, and he introduced me to circus art.”

[Tampa Bay Times, Facebook, Tribute Archive]

Ana Bautista, 86, Land O’ Lakes

Originally from New Jersey, Ana Bautista loved cooking and feeding her family, gardening and adult coloring books. She also loved celebrating birthdays and holidays with her large extended family.

Ms. Bautista was a member of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church. She and her husband were married for 64 years.

[obituary]

Dennis Bello, 74, Brandon

Dennis Bello said goodbye to his wife of 30 years over the phone, as he languished in the hospital.

Mr. Bello used to run a flower shop, and for more than two decades, he ran the Dennis Et Al beauty salon. As a hairdresser, his clients loved him, his son said.

[Fox 13]

Sam Bellotte, 91, Tarpon Springs

“Hey, beautiful.”

Those words were all it took for Sam Bellotte’s wife, Mary, to know she’d spend her life with him — though she made him ask four times before she agreed to spend time with him.

By then, Mr. Bellotte had already proven he was “tough as they come,” as his obituary put it. He grew up in West Virginia during the Great Depression; after his father died, he and some of his seven siblings worked at a golf course for pennies, which they gave to their mother. He joined the Marines as a teenager and served from the end of World War II to the beginning of the Korean War. His job was guarding high-ranking Japanese war criminals.

A few years after he and Mary wed, they moved to Tarpon Springs, where he spent 33 years working for Coca-Cola and helped start the city’s first Little League. In his later years, he loved telling the story of his life, so long as he made it home in time to watch westerns in his favorite chair.

[Obituary]

Patricia Ann Bendel, 85, St. Petersburg

Patricia Ann Bendel
Patricia Ann Bendel [ Courtesy of family ]

Patricia Ann Bendel’s loved ones described her as a strong Irish lady and the life of the party — all without a drop of alcohol. Family members hardly had time to say goodbye. After a conversation at 2 p.m. where Bendel said she was fine, by 4 p.m., she was being taken to the hospital and put on a ventilator.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Charles Benton, 83, Apollo Beach

Charles Benton was a retired truck driver and an Army veteran. He was a proud member of the Loyal Order of the Moose, a fraternal organization, and took the highest honor the group gives, the Pilgrim Degree of Merit.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Zipperer’s Funeral Home]

Anne Bergeron, 91, St. Petersburg

Youngest of eight, mother of one son and one stepdaughter, Anne Bergeron called St. Petersburg home for the last two decades. She volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul and had her favorite haunts: the bingo hall, the Hard Rock Casino and Derby Lane.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Robert Betzold, 94, Palm Harbor

A Navy man, Robert Betzold served at the invasion of Iwo Jima during World War II. He was a member of the Highland Lakes community in Palm Harbor, where, in his younger years, he was active in the Men’s Golf League and Men’s Club.

[Obituary]

Barry Bingham, 82, New Port Richey

Barry Bingham loved his work as a crossing guard at an elementary school, which he did for two years in retirement. Previously, Bingham had worked for the city of New Port Richey. He was devoted to his wife, Carol, and children, driving across the state for soccer tournaments or just down the street for a bingo game. Bingham and his wife liked to drive cross-country in their RV as well.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Obituary Manager]

Ronald Binns, 88, St. Petersburg

After graduating from the University of Georgia, in the state where he grew up, Ronald Binns enlisted in the Navy and joined Officer Candidate School. He worked as the state manager for Taylor Publishing and was married to his wife, Frances, for 67 years.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

John Birk, 89, Largo

John Birk was born in Indiana and moved to Florida in 1967. He worked as an advertising sales manager for the Tampa Bay Times from 1977 until his retirement in 1991, according to Times human resources records.

“We used to have lunch together until the COVID-19 virus came along,” said a tribute on his obituary, written by a woman who said she was a friend of Birk’s. “I am going to miss John very much.”

[Tampa Bay Times, obituary]

Norma Blanco, 99, Palm Harbor

Norma Blanco lived a life full of comfort and grief. At the end of World War II, her only brother was killed when his bomber plane was shot down over the Alps. After high school, she worked alongside her parents at their diner in Yonkers, N.Y., and on St. Patrick’s Day 1947, she got married. She and her husband, Anthony, moved through the Northeast for his work, while she raised two sons, cared for her parents — and later, cared for Anthony, who had a terminal illness and died in 1990, right after they moved to Florida.

Her family remembers her selflessness, her old-school Italian cooking, her independent streak and her generous heart.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Clara Blaser, 93, Seminole

As a teenager, Clara Blaser played basketball for St. Petersburg High School. She got a master’s degree in library science at the University of Florida, and with her and her husband of 60 years both working as teachers, they used summers to travel across the nation in a trailer. The two went to every state and made friends along the way. Blaser also loved international travel, with Australia and New Zealand being her favorite spots.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Robert “Bob” Donald Bohen, 93, St. Petersburg

Bob Bohen
Bob Bohen [ Leonora LaPeter Anton ]

Playing stickball against a young Whitey Ford, who would go on to become one of the New York Yankees' greatest pitchers, Bob Bohen smacked a hit. He told that story the rest of his life.

A man of many abilities, he worked as an elevator inspector, a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman and English teacher in Greece. He served in the Army during World War II, arriving in Japan just after peace was declared.

For years, Bohen raised his daughter as a single father. He was forever quick to make friends.

[Obituary]

Jerome Joseph Boies, 77, Largo

A former United States postal worker and Pinellas County park ranger, Jerome Boies loved family and his country. Most of all, he loved westerns and all things cowboy, especially John Wayne. He loved to have cookouts and pool parties with family, where he’d always have maple baked beans.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Tribute Archive]

Garlynn Boyd, 54, St. Petersburg

Garlynn Boyd spent her career coaching athletes in St. Pete.
Garlynn Boyd spent her career coaching athletes in St. Pete. [ Courtesy Ashton Taylor ]

Garlynn Boyd — “Coach G” to many — inspired generations of athletes who came through the Lightning Bolt Track Club she founded in 1992.

Her former athletes still remember her loud cheers from the sidelines, her motivating pep talks and her confidence in herself and those she trained. Among her star athletes are Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell and TJ Holmes, a former champion in hurdles for the Florida Gators.

“My mother was a revered and controversial figure in the line of track and field in the Tampa Bay area,” said her son, 21-year-old Ashton Taylor. “She broke barriers that people didn’t think were there.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Doris Branch, 87, Seminole

After a career as a registered nurse at some of New York City’s storied medical institutions — Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital — Doris Branch settled into retired life in Seminole, but stayed true to her roots: At Oakhurst United Methodist Church, she was parish nurse.

Her family remembers her as being up for just about everything. “Doris was short in stature but a formidable presence, always game for another adventure with her grandchildren, Disney World, school graduations, weddings, college baseball doubleheaders, soccer games, and even Parris Island boot camp graduation ceremonies,” her obituary reads. She loved helping P.E.O. Sisterhood and the church thrift shop, as well as soaking in the sounds of the Florida Orchestra.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Norma Brashear, 82, St. Petersburg

She grew up in West Virginia, studied music education and art, and taught in Ohio, where she met her husband. After seven years of teaching, she switched to private lessons out of their home while she raised her boys. She loved to play the piano, solve puzzles and read.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Wayne Brown, 78, Safety Harbor

For years, Wayne Brown owned and operated Brown’s Marine Service at Port Tarpon in Tarpon Springs. As a young adult, Brown served in the U.S. Air Force. He loved boating, working outdoors, spending time with family and with his little dog, Lucky.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Robert Brumback, 88, Clearwater

Robert Brumback served in the U.S. Army for more than 27 years, including going to combat in Korea and Vietnam. After his service, he worked for the city of Clearwater and retired as director of solid waste. He enjoyed socializing at the Belleair Country Club.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Tommy Byrd, 65, Clearwater

Tommy Byrd loved football, cooking and being along the water. Born in Alabama, Byrd worked for Solar Gard for many years. Outside of work, he had a passion for a variety of music.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Elizabeth Ann Campos, 83, Tampa

“Betty to some, Liz to others, she was happiest when family and friends gathered at her home,” her obituary reads. “There was always an occasion to celebrate, a reason to bake a pound cake, and room for one more at the table.” She shone as a host and was quick to laugh, retell old yarns and help a neighbor. She loved her Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rays. She made people feel seen and loved.

[Obituary]

Alfonso Cardenas, 55, Tampa

Alfonso Cardenas with his children, Ivan, 14, Alejandra, 20, and Jhoana, 20
Alfonso Cardenas with his children, Ivan, 14, Alejandra, 20, and Jhoana, 20 [ Courtesy of Jhoana Cardenas ]

Alfonso Cardenas would do anything for his three children, especially after their mother died years earlier. He coached all three in soccer, which was his passion. He was always the loudest one on the field and could bring his positive attitude to anything, his daughter said. “We could always talk to him,” Jhoana Cardenas said. “He was kind of like our shoulder to lean on.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Dolores Carreiro, 97, Seminole

After graduating high school and working for a bit as a bookkeeper, Dolores Carreiro volunteered for the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve and served in World War II, for which she received a Victory Medal. In Rhode Island, she brought up her six children and grandchildren while helping run Penny Sales and Christmas Bazaars at her parish. She was also active in her local Democratic committee. Her favorite saint was St. Jude.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Grasso Funeral]

Gloria Casbar, 88, St. Petersburg

Gloria Casbar was a resident at Apollo Health and Rehabilitation Center. According to family members, no one from the center called to discuss her coronavirus diagnosis. Family said Casbar was put in a bed with no rails, which she fell out of. Only after being taken to the hospital did family say they found out her full medical condition.

Casbar enjoyed playing bingo with friends and family and watching baseball.

[Tampa Bay Times, Echovita]

Doris Cesta, 90, Clearwater

Never without a smile or giggle, Doris Cesta was often whipping up cakes, bread and homemade jam to give to her friends and neighbors. “Still a generous person at 90 years old, she got her greatest joy from doing for others,” her family wrote.

She moved to Clearwater in 1959. She worked for more than 20 years in the city of Clearwater Engineering Department and later at the Pinellas County Printing Services Department.

[obituary]

Barry Chaiken, 81, Zephyrhills

Barry Chaiken was a certified public accountant and one of Intuit Inc.’s oldest active employee.

A cousin remembered growing up in the Bronx with him, “watching Howdy Doody, going to Yankee Stadium with Uncle Gershon, sneaking out for Chinese food with Grandpa Max!”

He is survived by three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

[obituary]

Susan Chauvin, 80, St. Petersburg

As a young girl in Massachusetts, Susan Chauvin sang on the radio with her childhood sweetheart Robert. The two married, had four children and traveled the world for different military postings. Chauvin also enjoyed other arts, like poetry, ballet and acting. She was a faithful volunteer at the Massachusetts Hospice Association and a member of Suncoast Cathedral.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Brett Funeral Home]

Winston Chin, 66, St. Petersburg

Born in Jamaica, Winston Chin started a career as a chef cooking on cruise ships. After going to culinary school, he traveled to open various restaurants. He loved fishing, fixing cars and watching martial arts on television.

[Obituary]

John Chitwood, 73, St. Petersburg

Educated as an electrical engineer, John Chitwood started as a work-study student at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1964. Nearly four decades later, he retired as head of the Microwave Systems Branch, having worked on communication systems for satellites and planetary probes.

His other love was ham radio. He had a license for 59 years, even serving as secretary and treasurer for the Foundation for Amateur Radio, where he also spent 46 years on the scholarship committee. He leaves behind his husband, Jake Eckardt.

[Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner, obituary]

Jennie Christian, 96, St. Petersburg

Growing up on a farm, Jennie Christian devoured books. Instead of doing her daily chores, she’d pick apples and hide in the hay loft, reading. She moved to St. Petersburg in 1952 and had been a resident of the city ever since. She loved football and baseball, gardening, dancing and shopping.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Vera Clark, 95, Clearwater

Vera Clark was a beautiful flautist, selected to the Pennsylvania High School All-State Band in 1943. After a stint as a nurse, she raised seven children with her husband, Jim. Her life filled with their schooling, scouting, Little League and high school sports and music. In 1980, the family moved to Clearwater. A skilled knitter, she left her family with treasured Christmas stockings and other gifts. Her family remembers her as patient and a role model.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Virginia Cline, 89, Pinellas Park

After her years of teaching in Pinellas County schools, Cline used her retirement to travel and volunteer. She went to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and went to Japan, Mexico and parts of Europe to study. In retirement, she was a snowbird, who split her time between her grandchildren in New York and her Florida home. She loved to golf and square dance.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Vilma Cofer, 89, St. Petersburg

After Vilma Cofer left Trinidad for New York City as a young woman, she was hired as a domestic worker for a local surgeon. The surgeon grew so impressed with her administrative skill and organization that he hired her to manage the office’s practice. In Florida, Ms. Cofer also managed medical offices. She enjoyed studying the Bible in her later years.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

William “Bill” Coleman, 91, Tampa

Bill Coleman graduated from Hillsborough High School, then served in the Korean War. A merchant marine, he traveled the world in his youth.

Later, he worked at Schlitz brewery for 30 years and became a realtor in retirement. “Sociable to the end, Bill never met a stranger,” his family wrote. He was interred with military honors at Florida National Cemetery.

[obituary]

Diane Elaine Collier, 76, Tampa

Diane Collier was a retired teacher’s aide at Robinson Elementary who loved Christmas, Elvis, reading, singing and her family.

She also loved dominoes — a member of her dominoes group remembered that Ms. Collier was the life of the party and always “full of ‘it.’” She loved laughing and wasn’t above spontaneously bursting into song during an outing when the mood struck.

[obituary]

Larry Cottrill, 65, Brandon

When Larry Cottrill died, his loved ones broke bread and shared stories about him.

In his obituary and on his tribute wall, they also shared stories about the “Teddy Bear” who married his childhood sweetheart and had a knack for woodworking.

Even though he disliked strawberries, he’d go get strawberry milkshakes with a loved one who visited from Ohio. His daughters could always rely on him to attend their Girl Scout events, concerts and sporting events, and he inspired his youngest grandson to become a skilled hunter. The man of few words could be stern, but he always had something kind to say.

[Sunset Funeral Home and Memory Gardens]

Jack Crittenden, 91, Seminole

Married for more than 65 years, Jack Crittenden “taught his family what love looked like as he walked with (his wife) Bonnie through her 11-year battle with dementia,” his obituary reads.

A man of integrity and kindness, plus remarkable ping-pong skills, he loved to study God’s word, pull weeds and serve his community. After a career in marine construction, with proud contributions to the 7-mile bridge in Marathon and the Interstate 40 bridge over Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, he liked to unwind in the yard and at church. Thirtieth Avenue Baptist Church was his second home for nearly 62 years, where, as a deacon, he taught Sunday School and led the music and choir. Much of his work was quiet, kept humbly behind the scenes.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Ray Daniels, 73, Zephyrhills

For half a century, Ray Daniels ran a construction business that operated in Clearwater and Zephyrhills. He started his business after leaving the Navy in 1965. He liked fishing, NASCAR and football — his favorite teams were the Miami Dolphins and the Florida Gators.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Hodges Family Funeral Home]

Jeanette DeFrank, 102, Seminole

Jeanette DeFrank with son Albert, middle, and grandson Joseph.
Jeanette DeFrank with son Albert, middle, and grandson Joseph. [ Courtesy of Joseph DeFrank ]

Jeanette DeFrank was born in 1918, the same year the Spanish Flu wreaked havoc on the world, said her grandson, Joseph DeFrank. So it’s particularly poignant that the next major pandemic is what killed her.

She was born in the Detroit area and did secretarial work, then became a stay-at-home mom when she married and had a son. The family bought a condo and moved to Seminole in 1973. A few years later, her husband died of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Ms. DeFrank lived on her own from then on, playing cards and going out to dinner with a core group of friends, her grandson said. She stayed independent almost until the end, still shopping and carrying in her groceries at 98. She was “a very strong woman,” he said. “Very feisty.”

In 2016, as her health began to decline, she moved into Freedom Square of Seminole.

Erasmus Deliberti, 73, Port Richey

Erasmus Deliberti was a Brooklyn native and a devout Catholic. He worked for many years as a Publix produce manager. Affectionately known to some as “Uncle Sid,” Mr. Deliberti always offered an ear and solid advice.

“You always treated me like a son, and through you, I learned how to be the father I am today,” a loved one wrote on his memorial wall.

[Grace Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home]

Renee Dermott, 51, New Port Richey

Renee Dermott and her husband, John.
Renee Dermott and her husband, John. [ Courtesy of Nicole Dermott ]

A sixth-grade teacher at Seven Springs Middle School, Renee Dermott kept her circle of friends small. But when she was hospitalized with pneumonia, worried she would miss moments with her kids, her community stepped up. Students she’d had when she taught at the elementary level said she had made a difference for them. Donations and kind words poured in, proving Dermott’s circle was bigger than she’d given herself credit for.

“She was the first teacher there and the last teacher to leave,” one of her daughters said.

[Tampa Bay Times, Fox 13]

Joseph “Joey” Dima, 65, Largo

In May, Joey Dima was diagnosed with brain cancer. While in a rehabilitation facility for cancer treatment, Mr. Dima caught the coronavirus. He loved the beach, the Orlando Magic and local Tampa Bay sports teams. He ran a local collection agency for more than 20 years and was a successful entrepreneur.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Genyte Dirse, 86, St. Pete Beach

Genyte Dirse
Genyte Dirse [ Courtesy of Gedi Pakalnis ]

Before her death, Genyte Dirse’s life was the focus of a contentious court battle.

After she sold part of her St. Pete Beach property to her grandnephew for $50,000, when the property value was near $500,000, a realtor arranged to have Ms. Dirse put in the state guardianship program, saying her relative was exploiting her.

The two court cases about Ms. Dirse and her property will continue even after her death. It had been more than a year since her grandnephew was last able to speak with her.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Mary DiSalvo, 93, Lakeland

Her fun-loving personality and infectious smile will be how family and friends remember Mary DiSalvo. When she told a story, she laughed all the way through it. DiSalvo, who was born in Italy, was a retired seamstress who had worked at the West Point Military Academy Tailor Shop. DiSalvo also loved to sing, cook and was a dedicated member of All Saints Catholic Church.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy, Heath Funeral Chapel]

Gary Dorling, 59, Tampa

Gary Dorling was a machinist who liked golf and old cars.

He was married 34 years and had two daughters. His relatives recalled how he was “strong, healthy, active” before he got sick with the coronavirus. “He would want the world to know to take this terrible virus seriously and protect yourself and others,” they wrote.

[Obituary]

An undated picture of Russell Douton a magician. He and his wife performed magic shows as "Windy and Sunny the Baloonatics."
An undated picture of Russell Douton a magician. He and his wife performed magic shows as "Windy and Sunny the Baloonatics." [ Mark Byrne ]

Russell Douton, 92, Seminole

Those who knew of Russell Douton may have known him by a different name: Windy, or perhaps the Balloonatic. Mr. Douton performed magic and balloon art for decades alongside his wife, Maryellen “Sunny” Douton. The two traveled up and down the east coast in an RV for more than 25 years and continued to perform after settling in Largo.

In 1975, the couple was featured in the Brevard County newspaper Florida Today — Sunny in a candy-striped jacket, presenting a young girl with a balloon swan; Windy wearing thick glasses and a handlebar mustache, blowing into a balloon with a mischievous look.

“It’s like the kids today say — we’re ‘doing our own thing,’ and we’re having a good time, and making a buck too,” Windy told the reporter.

Sunny died in 2015; the two had been married 65 years. Before his death, Windy was living at Seminole’s Freedom Square retirement community, which has become a COVID-19 hotspot.

[Tampa Bay Times archives, Legacy, Newspapers.com]

Dayana Echeverry, 38, Brandon

Dayana Echeverry was born in Colombia and grew up in Queens. She loved unicorns and all things pink. She met her future husband — who she called “my Tony” — in law school. The two married in Las Vegas in 2018.

She was a passionate attorney. In her valedictory speech in law school, she told classmates “We are fighters; dare I say, scrappy... Remember what we’ve been through and who we are, and remember our story. We may not know what is ahead, but we will persevere.”

[GoFundMe]

George Egolf, 89, Pinellas Park

George Egolf
George Egolf [ Debra Lane ]

George Egolf grew up in the Panama Canal zone and made his career there as a machinist, after serving in the Korean War.

He first caught site of his future wife on the first day of high school. People said she was snobby, but Egolf said, “I’m going to marry her,” his daughter said. The couple eloped when they were 19 and were married 69 years.

In retirement, they relocated to Pinellas County, where Egolf enjoyed meeting his brother for breakfast every day and working on furniture and house projects. “He was a mister fix-it,” his daughter said.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Concetta “Connie” Ennor, 101, St. Petersburg

Connie Ennor was loved by all, including her daughter, granddaughter and two great-grandchildren. In 1991, the Tampa Bay Times wrote about her and husband Al’s 50th anniversary, which they celebrated with a weekend trip to Naples. The couple had moved to Florida in 1977 from St. Louis and enjoyed activities at the Sunshine Center.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy, Tampa Bay Times]

Anthony Fabrizio, 93, Seminole

Anthony Fabrizio with his granddaughter, Noel.
Anthony Fabrizio with his granddaughter, Noel. [ Courtesy of Daryle Fabrizio ]

“Even into his 10th decade of life," his obituary begins, "Anthony Fabrizio began each day by doing 100 sit-ups. That’s what he told his family, anyway, and nobody doubted him. Anthony’s obsession with staying strong and healthy was legendary.”

Mr. Fabrizio, a New York City native who moved to Florida in 1954, ran more than a dozen marathons, said his son, Daryle Fabrizio. He got into running and biking toward the end of his career and doubled down on the hobbies in retirement.

He kept running into his 70s, then biking into his 80s. When he moved into an apartment at Freedom Square, a retirement community, he kept fit on a stationary bike, his son said, until he had a heart attack late last year.

[Tampa Bay Times, Legacy]

Forest Farley, 73, Tampa

Forest Farley served as director of the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa and later worked at Bay Pines in St. Petersburg. Previously, he ran the VA hospital in Lexington, Ky.

A University of South Florida graduate, Farley served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and received three Purple Hearts. He is survived by his wife, three children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

[Tampa Bay Times, obituary]

Barbara Farrell, 85, Seminole

Affectionately known as one of “The Badland Babes,” a group of four friends, Barbara Farrell was an avid fossil hunter. In addition to her search for pieces of creatures long gone, Ms. Farrell loved living animals, too, and volunteered for both the SPCA and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

She attended St. Paul’s High School in St. Petersburg and got degrees from both the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. She taught at local elementary schools and was remembered for her sharp sense of humor, “mischievous green eyes” and her Uncle Marty cake recipe.

[obituary]

Joseph “Chuck” Fernandez, 53, Lakeland

A Plant City High School graduate and former Boy Scout, Chuck Fernandez rooted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and enjoyed cruise vacations.

Sometimes, he delighted in a rum and coke. His mother was at his side when he died.

[Obituary]

Elias Figueroa, 63, Tampa

From Panama to the Burger King on Dale Mabry Highway, Elias Figueroa made lifelong connections wherever he went.

Mr. Figueroa was born in Puerto Rico and joined the Army in his early 20s. While stationed in Panama, he married Ross Hubbard, his “souvenir” and wife of more than 30 years. He was known for his gentle manner and for being the family comedian who wanted to make sure everyone had fun.

After contracting COVID-19 during the summer, Mr. Figueroa’s lungs suffered irreparable damage, and for three months, he fought to stay alive.

“Elias was a fierce fighter until the very end, and his family is very proud of him,” his family wrote. “He will truly be missed and forever in our hearts.”

[Boza & Roel Funeral Home]

Colene Flannigan, 92, Palm Harbor

Born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., Colene Flannigan was a long-time member of the Durham Memorial Baptist Church. She worked as a payroll specialist and in her free time, she loved to travel with her husband of 56 years, Jack.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Belle Wade Frame, 96, Pinellas Park

Valedictorian and homecoming queen of her Mississippi High School, Wade Frame graduated from Delta State University, got married and became a mother. She launched a kindergarten in her own home, then founded a kindergarten at two Episcopal churches. She kept going, becoming an elementary school teacher, then a junior high English teacher.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Obituary]

Rosemarie Gabriele, 71, Dade City

Rosemarie Gabriele, pictured with her grandson in 2016.
Rosemarie Gabriele, pictured with her grandson in 2016. [ DIRK SHADD ]

Rosemarie Gabriele was the only person her granddaughter knew who could get a discount at any store, sale or not. She loved opera, European travel and mashing the buttons of the Hard Rock’s mega machine. A stubborn Sicilian-American family woman, she was equally devoted and independent, making as many birthdays and recitals as she could.

Until the end, she resisted relatives’ worries. Then she said: “We never know when God is going to call us back."

[Tampa Bay Times]

Robert Gaines, 81, Tampa

Robert Gaines got his love of cooking from his mother. A member of the Local 1207 Union, he worked as a foreman in high-rise construction until retirement. Before making a life for himself in Tampa, and long before Citrus County schools were desegregated, he was a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, class of 1957.

He was buried in Inverness, where he was born.

[Medical examiner, obituary]

Harold F. Gens, Jr., 86, Largo

After graduating from Florida State University with degrees in English and engineering, Harold F. Gens served in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps during the Korean War. He moved back to Florida in the late 1970s, where he worked as an engineer for 20 years. In his spare time, he was a dedicated writer and lover of poetry — his favorite was Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. He also enjoyed sailing, golfing and playing guitar.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Moss Feaster Funeral Home and Cremation Services]

Costas Gianaros, 78, Tarpon Springs

For 20 years, Costas Gianaros served in the United States Air Force, retiring as a master sergeant. He worked as an electrical engineer for 25 years.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

John Giancola, 76, Tampa

John Giancola founded the communications department at the University of Tampa in 1984 and taught video there for more than 20 years. During his career, he wrote for network television and served as director of media arts for the New York State Council of the Arts, and some of his work was archived at the Smithsonian Institution. He was particularly fond of independent film.

[obituary]

Richard Goetze, 84, Pinellas Park

Before his retirement, Richard Goetze served in the Navy but also as a chief engineer in the Merchant Marines and as a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard. He had seven great-grandchildren.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Clifford Gooding, 58, Gulfport

Sgt. 1st Class Clifford R. Gooding, an Active Guard Reserve soldier, spent his days as the maintenance supervisor for the 301st Field Hospital in St. Petersburg. He spent 27 years in the Army, most of it in the reserve, and had a wife and children. His sister said he could make anyone laugh.

[Army Times, obituary]

Donald V. Graham Sr., 93, Treasure Island

Donald V. Graham Sr. was big on numbers. He was a former Internal Revenue Service agent and Air Force reservist who had a knack for picking stocks.

Graham and his wife eventually settled in Florida, where they created a condo management, accounting and real estate firm. He worked until he was 82.

[Obituary]

Harriet Granstrom, 92, Clearwater

Harriet Granstrom was born in Finland. After World War II, she worked as a nanny in England. She immigrated to the United States in the 1950s, sponsored by her sister. She worked in the Pinellas County Public Works Financial Services office.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Vincent Greco, 80, Largo

Vincent Greco’s obituary is short, but the tributes alongside it tell his story: “He helped me through one of the worst times of my life.” “My memories often include his blue Harley.” “He had a hearty laugh and a crooked smile.” “Vinny had gentle, swift and skillful hands with his barber scissors and gave the best bear hug ever!” “I loved him very much since 1988 and I have many memories, both good and bad.” “By watching Vinny, I learned how to be a good bike rider because he was the best! Hard-headed, big-hearted, old-school Sicilian Vinny.”

[Medical examiner, obituary]

Stephanie Louise Hancock, 51, St. Petersburg

Stephanie Hancock moved to St. Petersburg from Key West, where she worked in graphic design, wrote organizational newsletters and volunteered for the American Lung Association.

She “never met a stranger” and loved to sing and dance, her family wrote. She had underlying health conditions but never let that hold her back. In her last week of life, her siblings called and told her how much they loved her and how proud they were of her.

[Key West Citizen, obituary]

Donald Lewis Hand, 78, Clearwater

Donald Hand was a pipe organ design engineer and an accomplished organist and carillonneur, leading choirs at many churches in Connecticut and Florida.

He was proud of his over 100 organ installations, particularly at the Inter-American University Chapel in Puerto Rico, The Shiroishi White Cube Concert Hall in Japan and his final project, First Baptist in Washington, D.C.

He loved music, reading and history and was a descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

[obituary]

Robert “Bob” Harvard, 62, Largo

Bob Harvard liked to spend days at the beach flying kites, bowling and playing PlayStation with his son and granddaughter. Mr. Harvard worked as an engineer for 31 years and planned to retire in December to travel the United States with his wife. A Navy veteran, he often volunteered at veterans’ parades.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Veterans Funeral Care]

Catherine Haubenreich, 88, Palm Harbor

Catherine Haubenreich was a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve Nurse Corps. For more than 40 years, she worked in the nursing field, often as a supervisory nurse and educator. In her retired life, she attended and volunteered at Catholic churches.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Willie Haywood Sr., 94, Brandon

Willie Haywood Sr. served in the U.S. Army during World War II, then worked as an industrial worker and truck driver in New Jersey.

He retired to Florida in 1994 and was a member of Beulah MB Church in Ft. Meade. He is survived by six children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

[obituary]

Mary Ellen Hendrickson, 83, Sebring

Mary Ellen Hendrickson took pleasure in caring for her family, cooking meals and sewing clothes for her children. Before starting a family, Ms. Hendrickson worked as a secretary for Breyers Ice Cream. She enjoyed golfing and going to casinos to play bingo.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Banks/Page-Theus Funerals and Cremations]

Robert “Bob” Hepp, 83, Pinellas County

Bob Hepp hailed from Ohio but spent much of his adult life in Florida. He owned and was an architectural hardware consultant for Format Ten Inc. in Pinellas Park, then worked at Taylor Contract Hardware in Tampa for 25 years until his retirement.

Mr. Hepp kept busy in retirement: member and Stephen Minister at St. Paul United Methodist Church, president of the Clearwater chapter of the Kiwanis Club, district president of the Methodist Men of St. Petersburg, chairman of the Upper Pinellas County March of Dimes.

But he also had his hobbies, including wood working and maintaining saltwater fish tanks, and enjoyed spending time with his family. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sandy; three daughters; two brothers; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Adam Hergenreder, 32, Clearwater

Adam Hergenreder was a huge sports fan — especially for Tampa Bay teams. He watched them play on TV and had a collection of jerseys and hats to show his support.

His health prevented him from playing the sports he loved. He had diabetes, lifelong asthma and lung issues. Those issues contributed to Hergenreder’s early death, making him among Florida’s younger coronavirus victims.

He was loved by so many people, his family said, a testament to his kindness. Even while he was struggling with the virus, he was checking on friends and giving them words of encouragement.

“It’s really hard. Really, really hard, to deal with this virus,” his mother said. “It causes so much heartache.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Raul Herrera, 63, Dade City

Raul Herrera was born in Tamazula de Gordiano, Jalisco, Mexico. When he was 20, he migrated to the United States with the hope of a better future for his family. He did construction labor and traveled across the country to work in orange, corn, blueberry and apple fields.

Mr. Herrera finally settled in Dade City, where he raised his family of eight children and later, 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He loved spending each weekend grilling for his family and playing dominoes with his brothers and sons. He savored his morning coffee and afternoon walks.

[Legacy]

Hal Hevel, 86, Belleair

Married 66 years to his love, Betty, Hal Hevel was a father of five, grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of 15. His family came first, and he worked to provide for them, first as a butcher, and then in Florida, as a meat manager at Publix.

He retired to North Carolina, where he liked to carve wood, hike and listen to jazz — as a dancer, he had a groove. His family loved his laugh.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Lillian Hives, 68, Dade City

A Christian, mother and homemaker, Lillian Hives liked to cook, fish and, as was her talent, find creative ways to fix things. She found Christ at an early age and considered herself totally devoted, preaching her love for the Lord and speaking in tongues. She often shared her conviction.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Freda Holmes, 87, Largo

Freda Holmes was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., and got a business degree before working as a pastoral secretary for over 30 years. According to her obituary, she loved her job immensely.

Ms. Holmes is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

[Pasco-Pinellas medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

William “Bill” Honoski Jr., 89, Tarpon Springs

As a 19-year-old in Long Island, Bill Honoski Jr. led his band, “Bill Honoski and The Polka Time Band.” After leaving the Marines, Mr. Honoski worked as a carpenter, a craft he learned from his father after a day of schooling. He was a construction supervisor for a number of local projects, including the renovation of Pier 60 in Clearwater in the 1990s. A rabid sports fan, Mr. Honoski took up playing baseball as an adult and was an MVP. He loved Tampa Bay sports teams, especially the Lightning.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Terrence “Terry” Hooper, 76, Pinellas Park

Terry Hooper was part of the Teamsters Union as a truck delivery assistant. He was a huge fan of the Cleveland Browns and enjoyed horse racing. Whenever a family member or friend needed help, they could count on Hooper, according to his memorial page.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Tribute Archive]

Ernest Ihrig, 89, Seminole

After living in Massapequa Park, N.Y., Ernest Ihrig moved down to Seminole. Ihrig was a proud Air Force veteran and served in the Korean War. He leaves behind a daughter.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Janet Israel, 66, Largo

Janet Israel loved to spend time around friends and family, and she had a number of birthday parties, family gatherings and other celebrations to bring people together. After graduating high school, she studied cosmetology and met the man she’d marry. The two liked to travel in their motor home together. She also enjoyed softball and cooking.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Brewer & Sons]

Donald Jack, 75, Seminole

Donald Jack
Donald Jack [ Courtesy of Michael Jack ]

Donald Jack was born and raised in Chicago but moved to Florida in 1976. He worked in construction and maintenance and rose to the top of his field, as the global construction and facilities manager for Jabil Circuits, said his son, Michael Jack.

Mr. Jack’s work took him all over the world: Malaysia, Hungary, his father’s birthplace in Scotland. Back home, he was a member of the Seminole Jaycees, a volunteer organization.

His two favorite things were golfing and the Chicago Cubs, his son said. He was such a Cubs fan that he wants his ashes spread at Wrigley Field.

“I don’t think it’s legal,” his son said, "but some of them are going on that field.”

Mr. Jack caught COVID-19 at Freedom Square of Seminole.

[Tampa Bay Times; Grasso Funeral, Memorial and Cremation Services]

Frank Jegen, 82, Treasure Island

Before he could drive a car, Frank Jegen owned an airplane. His passion for flying led him to work as a pilot at Delta Airlines, where he retired as a senior captain. Family said Jegen never stood still his entire life. Along with flying, he loved motorcycles, RVs and taking long sailing trips.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Tango Jessee, 92, Largo

Tango Jessee
Tango Jessee [ Courtesy of Robbie Jessee ]

Tango Jessee grew up in one-stoplight town in the Appalachian Mountains, her daughters said. At first a homemaker, Ms. Jessee became a widow at 37. She went to community college in her 40s and joined the workforce. She never remarried, instead filling her life with friends, civic clubs and crossword puzzles.

She came to the Sunshine State late in life to be closer to her daughters. She loved sand sculptures and fireworks on the beach. But soon, she was diagnosed with vascular dementia and moved into Freedom Square, a retirement community in Seminole that has become a hot spot for COVID-19.

She died about two weeks after testing positive for the virus.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Josias Jocelyn, 79, St. Petersburg

Josias Jocelyn was the pastor of Sanctification Haitian Baptist Church, which congregated inside the Christ United Methodist Church off 1st Avenue North. In 2016, he helped organize relief efforts after Hurricane Matthew decimated his home church in Haiti.

A parishioner remembered Mr. Jocelyn as having “a servant’s heart” and displaying “the epitome of strength, tenacity and intelligence.”

[obituary, GoFundMe and ABC News]

Wallace Johnson, 60, St. Petersburg

Known as “Wally-O,” Wallace Johnson was a longtime St. Petersburg resident who went to St. Petersburg High School and entertained people by playing the harmonica.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Gaynell Jubrey, 85, Largo

Family and friends remember Gaynell Jubrey as a feisty personality. After years of declining health, she can return to that spirit in a new life, they said. Ms. Jubrey retired at 78 from the New York State Office for The Aging. She was charitable, quick-witted and liked bingo.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Ever Loved]

Diane K. Kade-Garza-Knouff, 65, Largo

Diane Kade-Garza-Knouff’s grandchildren remember her as a woman who drank pink Moscato and ordered Hawaiian pizzas. To her nieces and nephews, she was the aunt with all the answers; to her siblings, she was the sister always looking for a new adventure. According to her obituary, “she brightened the darkest of times.”

[Obituary]

Marion King, 62, Pinellas Park

She had a sprawling family, and to her 16 nieces and nephews, plus their spouses and children, Marion King was beloved, generous “Aunt Betty.”

On cruises and trips to Sanibel Island, Cape Cod and the Outer Banks, she relied on her favorite recipe for fun: Sun, water, family and friends. A property manager at the Castle Group, she was a lifelong learner, building business and management expertise through continuing education programs, including at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She fought cancer three times, demonstrating over and over her courage and grace. At every appointment, she brought a smile, compliments and good spirits.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Alyce Kinsella, 94, St. Petersburg

As a devoted member of a Prysbyterian church, Alyce Kinsella sang in the choir. She also volunteered with the Order of the Eastern Star for more than 60 years, often helping at the assisted living facility she would later call home.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Reese Funeral Home]

Kathryn Koah, 81, New Port Richey

Kathryn Koah and her husband, Clyde, whom she was married to for 55 years, used to raise Shetland Sheepdogs together. Ms. Koah was also a pianist and organist at a variety of churches.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Mike Konrad, 64, Brooksville

Mike Konrad
Mike Konrad [ Times file ]

A Tampa Bay Times editor for nearly 30 years, Mike Konrad was known for the little things: Birthday cards, airport rides and generous advice dispatched over long Friday lunches. Growing up, his family had started each day with the local newspaper and ended it with the evening dispatch, and by mid-high school, he had decided on a career in journalism. Several newspapers later, he arrived at the St. Petersburg Times. The Hernando bureau became his domain.

His pants and shirts were always pressed. His office, neat. His relationships with locals were, for a journalist who oversaw hard-hitting stories, remarkably rosy. His calm, fair sensibility earned him respect from both his Brooksville community and his Times team. With gentle writing guidance, in soft-spoken phone calls, he mentored a long line of reporters.

He toured baseball stadiums, still favoring his St. Louis Cardinals, and played clarinet for the Hernando Symphony Orchestra. He wanted to be remembered as a musician and baseball fan. He wrote, in advance of his own obituary: “He was a journalist who believed in the power of journalism to promote a fair democracy that works for everyone.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Jose Huertas La Rosa, 71, Tampa

Born in Lima, Peru in 1948, Jose Huertas La Rosa worked as an accountant for years before moving to Tampa with his family. In Florida, he found his new path: Christianity, and a degree in theology. He went on to become pastor of the Jesus Amigo Fiel church, his obituary says, and served his Hispanic community through charity work.

He was a father, a husband and a huge fan of the Peruvian national soccer team — which he finally got to watch in the 2018 World Cup, breaking a 35-year drought.

[Hillsborough medical examiner, obituary]

Jean Lasner, 90, Largo

Jean Lasner
Jean Lasner [ Courtesy of Robert Lasner ]

Originally from New Jersey, Jean Lasner moved to Florida with her family in 1976, one of her sons, Robert Lasner, told the Tampa Bay Times. She worked at a doctor’s office in downtown St. Petersburg for years until she retired.

As she got older, she moved into Cabot Cove, an assisted living facility in Largo. Robert took her to get her nails done or hair cut. They went out to eat once a week. She loved Cracker Barrel, where she usually ordered the daily special, except on fried fish Fridays. She didn’t care for fish.

Over the last few months, she needed a higher level of care than assisted living, her son said. She moved into Freedom Square at the end of March, just as the coronavirus was starting to spread across the state.

Daniel Lewis, 66, St. Petersburg

Daniel Paul Lewis
Daniel Paul Lewis [ Jonathan Lewis ]

“No one was safe from becoming Dan’s new friend,” said Daniel Lewis’ son, Jonathan Lewis. The former ambulance driver was kind to everyone he met and a rock for his family, even offering them advice and words of support as his health declined from the virus.

Mr. Lewis had been at Freedom Square of Seminole, a retirement community, for a two-week rehabilitation program ordered by his doctors. He was starting to turn a corner, his family said, until the virus hit.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Rose-Marie Lewis, 89, Clearwater

Rose-Marie Lewis was an avid volunteer at her church, a passionate supporter of environmental preservation groups and a World War II movie buff. She loved to read and often took her dogs for long walks. Shortly after her family moved to Clearwater in 1952, she met the love of her life, David Lewis, and they were married for 50 years until his death.

[Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home]

Melissa Lindsay, 65, Pinellas Park

A free spirit, a flower child and a beauty queen is how Melissa Lindsay’s family remembers her. The oldest of seven, she embraced the Summer of Love, yet was still tradition-bound, entering beauty pageants: “She was such a raven-haired beauty like her mother that she earned the title of Miss Watervliet, even though her talent was starting a campfire with only a flint rock, leaves and sticks in order to burn all her bras on stage,” her obituary reads. “This is not actually the talent Missy performed, simply the one she wanted to perform.”

She had a near-encyclopedic recall of books and trivia and had read seemingly every author. After becoming a mother, she graduated as a registered nurse at age 35, focusing on geriatrics, as she was drawn to the vulnerable and lonely. She liked to put people at ease and listen to their stories. If she loved you, she was an unabashed fan, screaming to cheer you on from the stands — or creatively berating your opponent.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Richard Lisiewski, 69, Palm Harbor

A lifelong fan of the Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox, Richard Lisiewski loved watching sports and passed that passion onto his kids. A doting dad and grandfather, he bought collectible teddy bears for his daughters and collectible Hess trucks for his grandchildren.

Mr. Lisiewski served in the Marine Corps for two years and worked for General Dynamics, Newport News Shipyard and CDI Marine after attending an apprentice engineering program at the University of Connecticut.

[Curlew Hills Memory Gardens]

Gary Lloyd, 76, New Port Richey

In New Port Richey, Gary Lloyd worked as a police officer until his retirement as a detective sergeant after nearly 20 years on the job. During his work, he attended Pasco Hernando Community College and got an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Before his police work, Lloyd served in the Marine Corps.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Sandra Longoria, 54, Plant City

Sandra Longoria was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The Plant City resident liked to spend time with her family, and she left behind her mother, four children, two grandchildren and several siblings. She attended Mana del Cielo Church in Riverview.

[Hopewell Funeral Home]

John Love, 86, South Pasadena

As a longtime resident of upstate New York, John Love was a dedicated public servant. For 45 years, he served as a volunteer firefighter. He also was elected to the Clarence Town Council, where he served four terms, focusing on a trails program, veterans' organizations, youth centers, conservation and more. He also taught arts and coached golf at the area schools.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Tribute Archive]

Sterling Magee, 84, Gulfport

Sterling Magee performs in 2005.
Sterling Magee performs in 2005. [ Times (2005) ]

As a blues musician, he was known as Satan.

Sterling Magee played with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Etta James and James Brown. He took the stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, part of the duo Satan and Adam. In between, he busked in Harlem, honing his own distinctive style.

Mr. Magee did not see despair in the blues, once saying: “Blue is one of the most beautiful colors in the world. The sky is blue, you got a clear day, people go out to the beach, the water’s blue. How do you associate blue with such a sad, slumped down state of unhappiness? That’s not the blues. Those are the clouds.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

John Marko, 82, St. Petersburg

John Marko did three tours in Vietnam during his 20-year service in the United States Air Force. He was a family man and known for funny remarks his loved ones called “Pop-Popisms.” He liked to help his family with renovation projects.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Antonio Marroquin III, 41, Myakka City

Antonio Marroquin III was the first jail inmate to die of the coronavirus in Tampa Bay. Marroquin was booked on federal drug charges. His lawyer said he had two teenage children and a loving wife. “This whole thing is unfortunate,” his lawyer said. “We don’t impose the death penalty for a drug charge.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

John Alfred Marsh Jr., 90, Palm Harbor

John Marsh, known as “Doc” to his family for his concern for their health and safety, grew up in the Ocala National Forest. He served in the U.S. Army, then became a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol, mostly in the Tampa Bay region.

He loved nature and the outdoors and making others laugh with his stories. For many years, he had a hunting camp in the Ocala National Forest.

[obituary]

Cheryl Massey, 56, St. Petersburg

Every year, Cheryl Massey started counting down to Christmas, at 364 days to go. She was the glue of the family, and every birthday party, vacation and sleepover with her grandkids was owed to her planning. Her faith in Jesus Christ was her most abiding passion, and she played an active role at St. Petersburg Presbyterian Church.

She was such a good listener that she made it her career, as a family counselor. Last year, she studied online at Liberty University, earning a master’s degree in human services, counseling, marriage and family. In September, the college will honor her by presenting her diploma to her husband, David, two children and six grandchildren.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Robert “Bob” Maxwell, 85, Land O' Lakes

Bob Maxwell loved to tinker. First as a radio communications repairman in Germany with the U.S. Army, later as a computer repair technician with IBM. He was always curious about how things worked. Writing and poetry were lifelong passions. He loved people and people-watching. In his spare time, he volunteered for a suicide awareness hotline.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Tribute Archive]

George Mayor Sr., 87, Tampa

Born in Ybor City, George Mayor Sr. married his high school sweetheart, Norma, and built a life with her in town during 67 years of marriage. He worked for TECO for more than 30 years and was a sergeant in the U.S. Army for two years, but in his spare time, he was passionate about coaching baseball. In 1978, the big league team he coached placed first in the nation and second in the world. He loved his grand-dog, Porky, and was devoted to family and God.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Helen Jeaneve Fite McClendon, 90, St. Petersburg

Helen McClendon loved cultivating beauty. She tended carefully to her garden. Her true passion, though, was for antiques. She restored antique furniture and founded a chapter of The Questers, which helps to preserve historical buildings. Her pride was a 200-year-old log cabin that she restored with her husband until moving to Florida in 2017.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Geraldine “Gerry” McCloskey, 86, Pinellas Park

Gerry McCloskey excelled at bowling, played softball and then took up golf. She moved to Tampa Bay in 1962, where she eventually became an assistant financial manager for Graybar Electric and met her life partner. Together, they raised two children.

She survived colon cancer 30 years ago and esophageal cancer five years ago. “Through it all, she kept her sense of humor and kept Sally in line,” her family writes.

[obituary]

Patricia Elizabeth McCracken, 85, Temple Terrace

A former state social worker, Patricia McCracken lived by a “pay it forward” credo. A longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa, she held a psychology degree from Barnard College and had come to Florida from New York.

McCracken enjoyed traveling and reading. She listened to jazz and liked fine art.

“She was always available to anyone in need,” her family recalled. “All she asked in return was to do something for someone else who needed help.”

[Obituary]

Edna Pearl McKinney, 76, Largo

Edna McKinney was a Largo native who grew up to become a nursing assistant and a military wife.

Her job took her from classrooms to hospitals, and she won many awards for her work ethic. Ms. McKinney also served as a deaconess of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and participated in the church’s Senior Women Ministry and Mass Choir.

[obituary]

Rhonda McNeiece, 68, Largo

Rhonda McNeiece moved to Florida when she was around 20 and spent nearly three decades working for Hunter Douglas. She was a dedicated member of the Elks, the Moose Lodge and the American Legion. She lived to see the birth of two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

[Sorensen Funeral Home]

Joseph Means, 60, Wesley Chapel

Joseph Means was intense in his work ethic but comfortable around people. A decorated, retired colonel of the U.S. Air Force, where he served for nearly three decades, he moved to Wesley Chapel with his family in 2007 and was a vice president at the government services company Perspecta. He could make anyone laugh. His friends called him Maine.

[Obituary]

Thomas Minichillo, 74, Clearwater Beach

Thomas Minichillo
Thomas Minichillo [ Courtesy of Terri Terzini-Minichillo ]

Terri Terzini-Minichillo was married to Thomas Minichillo for more than 50 years. She said he was the kindest person she’d ever known.

Their evening routine for many years involved visiting the beach and watching the sunset. He had longed to leave rehab and get back home. He’d tell his wife: "I just want to go for a walk with you.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Lucinda Mondragon, 36, Palmetto

Lucinda Mondragon was a mother of six and the wife of Ramiero, the love of her life. She had been attending Galen College to fulfill her dream of becoming a registered nurse.

According to her obituary, Ms. Mondragon was the life of the party but always made sure everyone was having a great time. She loved margaritas.

[Pasco-Pinellas medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Dorothy Hanson Moore, 70, Dade City

Dorothy Moore knew the name of almost every butterfly and flower found in Florida. She was a mother, teacher and eventually a volunteer Pasco Master Gardener, trained by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Friends remembered her as passionate about sharing her love for gardening and always excited to show kids caterpillars and chrysalis at the butterfly exhibit at the annual fair. The University of Florida Foundation launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a scholarship in her name, to support Pasco Master Gardener continuing education opportunities.

[obituary, GoFundMe]

Sharon Jo “Mort” Morten, 75, Largo

Originally from Illinois, Sharon Morten was a teacher who considered students and clients part of her extended family. She began her career teaching at Largo High School and eventually served as a counselor and a child advocacy coordinator with the guardian ad litem program.

“Love describes my philosophy,” she wrote. “The most beautiful experience for us is the acceptance that we extend to each other.”

[obituary]

Donna Mortensen, 98, St. Petersburg

Donna Mortensen
Donna Mortensen [ Courtesy of Rick Mortensen ]

In Washington, Donna Mortensen ran the kitchen at the Wesley Foundation and was considered a mother to the student residents. In Florida, she volunteered at a number of hospitals. St. Petersburg General Hospital gave her the Frist Humanitarian award.

She also raised money for Southeastern Guide Dogs through the hospital gift shop. Each holiday, she’d make a tray of favors for the patients in the hospital.

[Legacy]

Georgia “Rita” Mosely, 73, Dade City

Rita Mosely was a cook and housekeeper at a Dade City nursing home and later studied to be a registered nurse. Her family wrote in her obituary that she marched with Martin Luther King Jr. She loved her big family, all the way down to her great-grandchildren.

She was a straight shooter, her relatives said, who told it like it was. They wrote: “Georgia’s favorite color was blue and favorite foods were field peas and cornbread.”

[Medical examiner, obituary, Tampa Bay Times]

Hildegarde “Mae” Mutimer, 81, Dunedin

Mae Mutimer married Bob, her high school sweetheart, in 1958. She was an animal lover, a bookkeeper for her husband’s family business and a mother of three. She liked to be part of the community, as a member of many groups, and was an outgoing face behind the concession stand at Dunedin Little League baseball games. She liked to walk the local beaches, paint watercolor landscapes and escape to the Smoky Mountains in the fall.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Craig Nakashian, 75, Gulfport

In Massachusetts, Craig Nakashian taught middle-schoolers math for more than three decades. In his spare time, he loved to water ski, garden and root on the New York Giants. He and his wife retired to Gulfport in 2018.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Vincent Narcisi, 91, Seminole

Once an Army medic in the Korean War, Vincent Narcisi went on to run an electronics business in St. Pete Beach for decades. TV & Music Center sold Sony products, with Mr. Narcisi and one of his sons, Bruce, at the healm.

Another son, Todd Brusko, described a gentle but firm father, one who never spanked or yelled but instilled the importance of school and work ethic.

After testing positive for COVID-19, Mr. Narcisi hung on for weeks in the hospital, a testament to his grit, Brusko said. After his death, Brusko took to Twitter.

“If you think you are being tough for not wearing a mask and continue to go out into large crowds, I can assure you that you are not. If you keep it up, chances are good that you will survive, but someone like my father will not.

“When that happens, I can assure you that if there is an afterlife, some day you will have to meet my father, and when you do, I can see him punching you square in the face.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Harry Nash at a book fair. Nash was the owner of DoraLynn Books in Madeira Beach.
Harry Nash at a book fair. Nash was the owner of DoraLynn Books in Madeira Beach. [ | T. Allan Smith ]

Harry Nash, 75, Madeira Beach

Harry Nash owned DoraLynn Books in Madeira Beach, where he sold used paperbacks to tourists and locals looking for a beach read. Before that, he was a fixture at book fairs for years and kept two storage units full of books.

As a child, he spent most of his time outdoors and loved to hunt for snakes, his sister said. Mr. Nash’s father was a hotel manager, and the family split the year between St. Pete Beach and Massachusetts — which meant an endless summer.

“They called him Happy Harry,” his sister said.

Mr. Nash was discharged from a hospital to Seminole Pavilion at Freedom Square in late March. Weeks later, the facility was hit with a major coronavirus outbreak.

[Tampa Bay Times]

George “Moose” Near, 72, Zephyrhills

George Near, “Moose” as he was known to friends, died on June 28. His friends and family plan to have a “drive-thru” memorial. Near leaves behind his wife, Poppy, and two sons.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Hodges Funeral Home]

Pamela Nickell, 78, St. Petersburg

Pamela Nickell “bled University of Kentucky blue,” family said. Throughout her life, she was active in Sarasota County and served as the chief legislative aide to a number of state representatives.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Dorothy “Dotty” Norkus, 83, Clearwater

Dotty Norkus was a lifelong baseball fan, rooting at first for the New York Mets and later in her life for the Tampa Bay Rays. She volunteered at SPCA Tampa Bay to get more animals into loving homes.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Donald Noyes, 90, St. Petersburg

Donald Noyes joined the Merchant Marines at 17, at least until his mother found out and put a stop to it. After high school, he served in the Army for two years. He spent 30 years at Hallmark Cards, traveled abroad and married three times, always to an independent woman. He had a salesman’s knack for gab and was a renowned storyteller, poker player and bookworm who often loaned out his books.

After a massive stroke affected his ability to speak in 1998, he figured out other ways to communicate. He was a founding member of the Treasure Island Curling Team and never stopped bragging about the fact that Bette Davis babysat him when she was in high school.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Frances “Francey” Margaret Oliva, 73, Madeira Beach

Francey Oliva was a woman of many talents. She moved to Tampa in 1964 and over the years, she worked as a dental assistant, bookkeeper, secretary and hairdresser — and finally opened her own salon, Francey Hair Design.

“As a wife she possessed all the qualities a man could have ever fantasized or hoped for,” her husband wrote. She also made sure the couple never went to bed angry.

[obituary]

Marion “Red” Ostdiek, 88, Sun City Center

The fourth of 13 children from a tiny town in Nebraska, Red Ostdiek served 29 years as a U.S. Air Force officer, earning a Bronze Star. According to his obituary, his work touched three aircraft used by a former president, the cruise missile program — even the space shuttle Columbia. In retirement, he became president of the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America. He loved to dig deep into his family’s genealogy and relaxed by playing golf and bridge. He and his wife were married 64 years.

[Obituary]

Lester Osteen, 88, Lutz

Lester Osteen lived many years in Lutz. He was a proud veteran, involved in the Marine Corps League Post #1440, and a member of the Lutz Church of Christ.

[Loyless Funeral Homes, Tampa Bay Times]

Paul Page, 86, Clearwater

Paul Page loved living in the Rocky Mountains and as a longtime Colorado resident, his favorite song was Rocky Mountain High by John Denver. For years, Page worked as a copy editor for different area newspapers, including The Denver Post for more than two decades. Born on a farm, Page put himself through college in Detroit by working at an automobile plant. Family said he’d help anyone who needed it, whether it was a ride somewhere, some money or a home-cooked meal. He was a Jeopardy wiz and loved the Broncos.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Franca Panettone, 46, Spring Hill

Franca Panettone
Franca Panettone [ Courtesy Maria Cain ]

One day, Franca Panettone would have her own home. It would be painted purple, her favorite, and filled with furniture she picked herself. She liked going to church and coffee and Gilligan’s Island. She loved her family.

They were never apart, not until she went into the hospital. Before she died, her family video chatted with her. “She looked like an angel, she really did,” her sister said.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Sandra Panopoulos, 92, Palm Harbor

Family reminisced about Sandra Panopoulous’ hosted Christmases, how she was the life of the party and how glamorous she was. Her son wrote that she was the best mother he could ask for and stood up for him no matter what. She also loved to craft and read, friends said.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, MossFeaster Funeral Home]

Nicholas Pape III, 52, St. Petersburg

Nicholas Pape grew up moving from place to place, bounced by his dad’s military job. He went to the University of Connecticut, fell in love with the Huskies men’s basketball team, pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon. He fell in love, married Charisse and, a few cities later, found St. Petersburg. He was “loved by everybody,” his obituary says, kind and gentle.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Dioscora Parido, 90, Pinellas Park

In her native Philippines, Dioscora Parido’s education halted after sixth grade, cut short by World War II. She had an ear for languages, though, and when her husband, Julio, died early, she took over his grocery with ease. At “Parido’s Store,” she employed her family, sent her daughters to college and supplied college-age employees with tuition, uniforms, room and board.

Her taste in fashion and jewelry was elegant, but she didn’t forget where she had come from. She poured money into Calbayog City, sponsoring the hometown fiesta and, as a faithful Catholic, building a rural community chapel. She kept running the grocery even as she moved to the United States to help raise her grandchildren. They often heard her singing — a recent favorite was You Are My Sunshine — and anticipated her requests for a ride to Taco Bell for Nachos Supreme. She loved karate thrillers and gardened fruits and vegetables, orchids and roses.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Ronald Partin, 81, Tampa

For most of Ronald Partin’s life, he was a devout Christian, even working as a pastor. He spent more than 30 years leading the choir at the Faith Independent Missionary Baptist Church and teaching adult Sunday school classes. He and his wife would travel to different churches and sing in groups, including one where they sang with their daughter and granddaughter.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Darla Perry, 56, Tampa

She poured her creativity into scrapbooks, sewing projects and her famous pumpkin oatmeal raisin cookies. She was a generous friend and mother, up for early-morning phone calls. On beach trips and Disney cruises to Castaway Cay, she loved most of all to see the water.

[Hillsborough medical examiner, obituary and virtual visitation]

Deo Persaud, 80, St. Petersburg

Deo Persaud was a well-known businessman and member of the Lions Club in his native Guyana. He later brought his family to New Jersey, where he became a real estate investor before moving down to Florida.

His family remembers him as a role model for many in his community and “a caring and devoted family man.”

[obituary, Tampa Bay Times]

Ruby Weaver Pitt, 99, St. Petersburg

Ruby Weaver Pitt traveled across the United States for her work in the hospitality industry, and once she settled in Florida, she trained a number of young waitresses at St. Petersburg’s Chatterbox restaurant. She helped found the Tampa Bay Carnival Glass Club and was an avid collector. She loved to play bridge with friends at the Snell Isle Women’s Club and was always dressed up, often in her favorite color, pink.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Betty Mauvoureen Boggess Placke, 93, St. Petersburg

In her attempt to help America’s World War II effort, Betty Placke inspected bullets at an ammunition plant after she graduated high school. She farmed in her home state, MIssouri, for many years. There, she also volunteered with the Boy and Girl Scouts and served as den mother for a chapter of the Cub Scouts.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Bittiker Funeral Homes]

Carlos Policarpio, 80, Tampa

In the Philippines, Carlos Policarpio found God when he was young. He became deeply involved in the Catholic Church, joining groups like the Brotherhood of Christian Businessman and Oasis of Love Community. He studied banking and finance, and when he moved to the U.S. in 1998, he kept up both his career and his faith, becoming a fixture of St. Paul Catholic Church. His greatest love was his family, whose members know that Mr. Policarpio spent most of his time praying for others. They believe his prayers surround them still.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Obituary]

Kevin Poorman, 63, Palm Harbor

Kevin Poorman was an avid fan of ham radio and was part of the Upper Pinellas Amateur Radio Club. Using the call sign KV4CT, Mr. Poorman never missed a chance to volunteer. “We will miss his calming voice, kindness and his passion for ham radio,” the club’s vice president said.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Upper Pinellas Amateur Radio Club]

Tonita Booher Preston, 95, St. Petersburg

Tonita Booher Preston was a longtime teacher, after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field. Later, she worked as a realtor associate in Jacksonville until moving to St. Petersburg in the 1990s. She enjoyed painting and drawing, and was a devoted Methodist.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Anderson McQueen]

Charles Richard “Dick” Preston, 68, Brandon

Each night, Dick Preston prayed for his children — three that he fathered, three he adopted, two others he loved as his own and dozens of foster children that he took in over the years.

Mr. Preston was born in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from Franklin University with a bachelor’s degree in business and computer science. He worked as an IT manager before his recent retirement to Florida, the place where he met and married his wife of 42 years, Dena.

According to his obituary, he was his wife’s “most dedicated supporter, always by her side and involved in whatever job or cause she engaged in.” They attended Beit Tehila Congregation in Brandon, with two grandchildren, worshiping Jesus while learning the Hebrew roots of Christianity.

Among Mr. Preston’s survivors are 16 grandchildren. The final words he said to his family were: “I want to see you again. You can see me again, too, if you follow Jesus!”

[Dignity Memorial]

Christopher Pugh, 84, Seminole

Christopher Pugh was a longtime member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He also loved golf, maps and singing and dancing.

Mr. Pugh was a resident at the Seminole nursing home with an outbreak of the coronavirus. His family asked that donations, in lieu of flowers, be made to Parkinson’s research.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Alice JoAnn Hooper Reck and Sam Reck, 86 and 90, Lakeland

The “Romeo and Juliet” of Lakeland, JoAnn and Sam Reck couldn’t be kept apart. When JoAnn, a former nurse, got sick with COVID-19, her husband of nearly 30 years insisted on a deathbed goodbye. Family members believe Sam contracted the virus then. They asked if he regretted his visit. He replied immediately: “Not one second.” Three weeks later, he died, too.

The couple traveled the country in a Winnebago to attend bluegrass festivals, where Sam played banjo or guitar and JoAnn showcased her voice and autoharp. When she developed dementia and moved into a skilled nursing unit, Sam would see her from his second-floor balcony while she sat below in the shade — hence “Romeo and Juliet,” as they came to be known.

[USA Today]

Evelyn Reed, 93, Palm Harbor

Evelyn Reed graduated from nursing school in 1948 and, two years later, married the man who would become her partner in business, too. At first, she helped Thomas with his dental practice, store and family farm in Tennessee. After moving to Florida in 1970, they launched a dental practice in Tarpon Springs, then Dunedin.

At home with family, she was revered for her Southern cooking. Her life was full of activity, from the Lions Club to the George Young United Methodist Church to the Tarpon Springs Yacht Club. She loved dancing and playing the piano and organ. She volunteered at St. Mark Village, where she eventually moved.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Blanche Reedy, 69, St. Petersburg

Blanche Lee Jordan Reedy was a minister and 1968 graduate of Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg. She is survived by a son and daughter, three brothers, five sisters, two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

“Blanche will forever be remembered and missed by the many lives she touched and changed with her testimony and spiritual walk,” a woman who said she was a friend wrote in a comment on Ms. Reedy’s obituary. “She was real.”

“She loved the Lord so much,” wrote another. “Thank God she never gave up on me.”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Obituary]

Dorothy Reichert, 81, Plant City

Dorothy Reichert was a down to-earth homemaker, originally from Mount Kisko, N.Y. With a large family in the Plant City area, she was constantly at a relative’s house or playing cards and bingo with her friends. “Her whole gist was just being around family and friends,” her daughter-in-law said.

One granddaughter said she’ll miss Ms. Reichert’s natural humor and sarcasm. “Going on our day trips, long phone calls, playing rummy all day together while you made me ramen...and of course...playing bingo together,” she wrote.

After suffering a fall in February, Ms. Reichert was placed in Community Convalescent Center in Plant City to recover. Instead, she contracted COVID-19 during a major outbreak at the facility.

[The Tampa Bay Times, Obituary]

Justine Reish, 102, Largo

Born in 1918 in Ohio, she became an executive secretary for 40 years. It was at the M. O’Neil Co. that she met the love of her life, Don. They were married in 1944. She loved God and her family, her obituary reads: “She was a model for us of how to live with kindness, respect, and dignity.”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Sheila Remley, 83, and Jim Ayotte, 85, Largo

Sheila Remley
Sheila Remley [ Remley family ]

Sheila Remley died at Morton Plant Hospital with a nurse holding her hand. She was popular at her mobile home park community, hosting parties and dinners. According to her daughter, she had just started dating a fellow resident, Jim Ayotte. He, too, died after contracting the virus.

Ms. Remley loved to travel. In May, she had planned a cruise to Amsterdam.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Lois Renz, 73, Tampa

Lois Renz moved to Tampa in the late 1960s after serving in the U.S. Air Force, and quickly made it her home. Her kids called her “Mez,” and her grandkids called her Grammy. She stayed close with her friends, better known as “The Group.” Every month, all 14 of them got together, knowing they could look forward to Ms. Renz’s funny stories and her laugh.

She was a Girl Scout leader, a Straz Performing Arts Center volunteer and a breast cancer survivor. She loved books, goats, The Beatles, English soccer and English TV shows — Poldark, especially.

Her family noted in her obituary: “We would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff on the COVID unit at Advent Health Tampa on Fletcher Ave. for their loving care of Lois in her final days.”

[Hillsborough County medical examiner, obituary, WFLA]

Astrid Reyes, 6, Tampa

Astrid Reyes
Astrid Reyes [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Astrid Reyes died days before her seventh birthday.

Less than a year earlier, she had finished a long and perilous trip from Honduras to America, seeking asylum.

Astrid liked to draw and to paint. She was picking up a new language.

“We wanted to send her to school, for her to start first grade,” her mother said.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Robert Robinson, 73, Pinellas Park

When Bob Robinson’s daughter Teri Sue died, he became an ordained minister. He wanted to be a source of comfort, performing wedding ceremonies, counseling people and being a generous presence at a loved one’s end-of-life celebration.

An Ohio native, he and his wife of 55 years, Susan, moved to Florida in 2017. He took to playing euchre with friends and loved doing a crossword while roasting in the sun. “He was funny, and his straightforward candor drew people to him,” his obituary said. He had a lot of loves, including the Yankees and Ohio State football, but most of all spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Pierre Roche, 74, Riverview

If he heard a song that moved him, Pierre Roche was known to get up and dance. He loved music, singing and playing the drums. He also liked soccer and wrestling.

His family said what they remember most fondly about Mr. Roche was his devotion to Christ.

[Hillsborough County medical examiner, Serenity Meadows]

Henry Rodriguez, 53, Indian Rocks Beach

Henry Rodriguez grew up in Tampa, eventually graduating from the University of Tampa. He went on to work as an event planner for Disney in both Florida and California, as well as Sandals Resorts. He suffered from health issues much of his life but was comforted by lots of family, his partner, Robert, and his faithful dog, Beau. Mr. Rodriguez loved to cook for them and often experimented with recipes and cuisines.

[obituary]

Juan Rojas, 66, Dade City

As a pastor, Juan Rojas shared his testimony and love of God with others in Dade City. His children said he was an excellent father and a role model to them. Even while he was in the hospital, Mr. Rojas was taking calls and making sure things ran smoothly. “He helped so many people without hesitation and was so forgiving,” his family wrote in his obituary.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Tribute Archive]

William Schell, 103, Pinellas County

William Schell was born in New York and died June 25 at C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.

Commenters on his obituary call him “Bud” and describe a man who was always smiling and loved to host cookouts.

“The world has lost a great man,” wrote a man who said he worked for Schell. “Bud was a wonderful person. He would help anyone who needed it.”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Georjean Schubert Schueler, 96, Tierra Verde

With a degree in dietetics, Georjean Schubert Schueler spent her career running a preschool in Illinois with her husband, Bob, preparing nutritious meals for students. The couple enjoyed sailing together — one of her biggest passions. That’s how the pair got to Florida, taking a treacherous trip down the Mississippi River to Tierra Verde. Later, they explored Florida and the Bahamas in a 37-foot sailboat. Ms. Schueler liked to navigate and cook delicious meals below deck. “Ahoy!” she would often say. She was fearless, even in the roughest of seas.

[obituary]

Eleanor June Schueneman, 94, Seminole

Eleanor June Schueneman
Eleanor June Schueneman [ Sandra McKinley ]

In her 60s, she was riding a motorcycle to work. In her 90s, she was crocheting lap robes and shawls for Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Eleanor June Schueneman was “quiet and strong,” said daughter Sandra McKinley. She was a member of the VFW Auxiliary and the MOC Auxiliary.

Just before she got really sick, doctors helped her FaceTime with her family. “She was thrilled that she could see us,” McKinley said.

[Tampa Bay Times, James Funeral Home]

Dr. Sam Scolaro, 75, Tampa

Sam Scolaro was born in Ybor City and spent his life in the Tampa Bay medical community. Aside from running a busy medical practice in the Valrico-Brandon area for 48 years, he was one of the longest continuing staff members at Tampa General Hospital, the chief of staff of Tampa Osteopathic Hospital and a founding member of Brandon Hospital.

He also took great pride in teaching future physicians and advocating for aspiring nursing and medical students. He helped establish post-graduate intern and resident training and always had a student shadowing him to learn the ropes.

Dr. Scolaro enjoyed sports, especially the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Rays — he loved baseball so much he sponsored his local Little League team and could hear them play from his back porch.

[obituary]

Vilma Joyce Toledo Seber, 84, Tampa

Vilma Toledo Seber loved old western romance stories, evenings with friends at the original Seminole Bingo Hall and savoring a good meal. “No Golden Corral was safe when Vilma drove there with grandchildren in tow,” her family wrote..

The family matriarch spent her life in Tampa, graduating from Jefferson High School, working at the Ybor City Kress department store and volunteering at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. She enjoyed weekends at the beach or pool and could be known to bust out a few dance moves after a margarita. “She was a pistol!” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Ed F. Serra, 91, Lithia

Born Eduardo Francisco Serra in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Serra came to the U.S. in 1947 to study mechanical engineering at New York University. Working in the pharmaceutical industry, he and his wife lived in New Jersey, Mexico and Puerto Rico and visited at least 70 countries before moving to Florida.

Mr. Serra’s family remembers him as a great storyteller who loved to play chess, collect coins and stamps, and create family albums in his free time.

[obituary]

Robert “Bob” Sempert, 90, Tampa

Bob Sempert spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, then worked for Tampa Electric Co. for more than 30 years.

“Bob was one of the guys who always seemed to have a great attitude toward life as well as work,” a co-worker wrote. He retired in 1988 and loved traveling and tinkering in his workshop. He contracted COVID-19 in his nursing home.

[obituary]

Lynann Seymour, 68, Tampa

Lyn Seymour got her start at WEDU in Tampa. She never stopped working in public media, her career taking her from Gainesville to Dallas. At PBS, she worked on shows like Zoboomafoo and Calliou.

At work, she was a mentor to other women, many of whom say they owe her a debt. She and her husband loved to travel. Seymour fell sick after the two returned from a trip to Egypt.

[Current]

Sarah Sherman, 84, Wesley Chapel

As a military wife, Sarah Sherman lived all around the world. She returned to her home of London, Ky., after her husband’s military retirement, and she was an active member of the Corinth Baptist Church. After the couple relocated to Florida to be closer to family, she became a member of First Baptist Church of New Tampa.

Mrs. Sherman was known as a fantastic cook, whipping up chicken and dumplings and fried chicken alongside “Baptist Pound Cake” and sweet tea. According to her obituary, her desserts “were legendary and will live on through her daughters-in-law, who will continue their efforts to replicate her talents.”

[Obituary]

Frances “Fran” Shivers, 86, Trinity

Fran Shivers was a nurse and a U.S. Air Force lieutenant. She loved canoeing and listening to jazz and classical music with her husband, who died in 2002. A devout Catholic, she lent her soprano to her parish’s choir.

[Obituary]

Carole Jean Shortz, 86, Seminole

Carole Shortz loved to dance and was an avid bowler. Her favorite pastime was traveling the country by RV.

“Carole was a dedicated mother who was always there for her family,” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Richard Slazas, 77, Clearwater

“His red Corvette was his pride and joy, a lifelong dream achieved,” Rich Slazas’ obituary reads. An Army veteran who served in Vietnam, who moved on to a career in pharmaceuticals, he loved any and all Chicago sports, betting the horses — and of course, that car. Money came and went thanks to those horses and the casinos, but every now and then, he’d win big.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Obituary]

Larry Smith, 80, Clearwater

Larry Smith grew up in Henry County, Ind., just east of Indianapolis. He met and married his high school sweetheart there, then moved to the northwest part of the state, where he founded a heating and ventilation company. Sixty years later, it’s still open and in the family.

He was a Freemason and a Shriner, and with his church, he traveled widely to build churches and schools. “He never met a stranger,” his obituary said.

[Obituary]

Clayton Snare, 95, Palm Harbor

Clayton Snare with one of his great-granddaughters.
Clayton Snare with one of his great-granddaughters. [ Courtesy of Clayton Snare II ]

A meteorologist in the Navy during World War II. President of two banks. An avid golfer and churchgoer. A family man who once held his great-granddaughter with a smile so bright it was as if he’d won the lottery.

Clayton Snare “led a very good life, very successful life," said one of his sons, Clayton Snare Jr. “For him to go not of natural causes but because of what’s going on — it just doesn’t seem fair. It really doesn’t.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Stefan Solohub Jr., 73, North Port

Stefan Solohub wanted to be a country musician. He wrote songs and entertained with his guitar, going by “Stevie J.R.” when he made music.

Solohub was a proud Ukrainian American and was actively involved with cultural organizations. He worked most of his life as an electronics engineer and moved to Florida when he retired to live closer to his parents. Family remembers his favorite prayer: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, A Life Tribute Funeral Care]

Corene Southard, 87, Largo

Corene Southard raised her three children as a single parent, providing for them as the deputy superintendent of schools in Pittsburg County, Okla. She loved to travel, even if it was “just around the corner,” family said. Her cruise around Alaska was a fond memory for her, and once she moved to Florida to be closer to her daughter, the two would take trips around the state’s coast.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Richard “Dick” Spires, 82, Largo

He grew up building models, so it was perhaps no surprise that Dick Spires became a successful electrical engineer. In three decades with Bell Labs, he even led key developments in long-haul telephone systems.

He had plenty of other loves, too, from photography to rock climbing to the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity (of which he was president in his final year at Ohio University). In his obituary, his family writes that he loved playing Bridge and Euchre. After retiring, he found joy in traveling the American West and France, serving as usher at his Largo parish, and spending time with family.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Dennis Spoto, 77, Tarpon Springs

After moving to Florida, Dennis Spoto fell in love with fishing. He participated in the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup and took third place on his first try. He built custom fishing rods for himself and friends, and eventually started building his own fishing boats. He also was a lifelong baseball fan, and as a kid, he collected candy wrappers to trade for tickets to Brooklyn Dodgers games.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, MossFeaster]

Michael Stephanofsky, 61, St. Petersburg

His mother helped him enlist in the Marines at age 17. Once honorably discharged, he tried on jobs until landing a career as an industrial plumber. He was brilliant with his hands, quick to help, “rough around the edges” but pure-hearted. To his wife of 32 years, Kristen, he was a rock.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Sue Stephenson, 80, Seminole

Sue Stephenson was a stay-at-home mother who loved to make her family smile with treats like apple pie, her daughter said. She grew up in Charleston, W.Va., and moved down to Seminole after she got married.

Ms. Stephenson enjoyed camping and visiting islands to hunt for seashells. At 50, she suffered an aneurysm and went through two brain surgeries but recovered and traveled to national parks all around the country with her husband. “Mom was always a smiling, happy person,” her daughter said. “I think cooking and taking care of us made her happy.”

Ms. Stephenson was a resident of Seminole Pavilion at Freedom Square.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Wayne Sternberg, 71, Lakeland

Wayne Sternberg spent his career in banking but was a woodworker at heart. At 9, he built his first rabbit hutch and a dog house. Later, he progressed to model sailboats. When his two grandsons came along, he shared his passion for building with LEGO boat model projects.

In retirement, he loved to golf, visit car and plane shows with his wife, or spend time riding bikes and hanging out by the pool with his grandsons. A Disney enthusiast since the 1980s, Disney World was the go-to vacation spot for celebrations over the years. He and his wife took the entire family on a three-day trip there earlier this year.

“Wayne had a beautiful and loving smile, twinkling eyes, and one of the kindest souls,” his family wrote.

[Obituary]

Verne Strible, 99, Seminole

Verne Strible
Verne Strible [ Sandy Curry ]

In recent years, if you asked Verne Strible how he was, he always responded the same way: “hanging in there and hoping the ropes don’t break.”

Baltimore-born, Mr. Strible served in the U.S Army in France during World War II, then studied engineering at Johns Hopkins University on the G.I. Bill. Afterward, he spent his career at Union Carbide in Buffalo, N.Y., and continued his engineer’s habit of wearing a pocket protector with a pen and pencil throughout his life, his daughter said.

Retired in Florida, he and his wife lived at Freedom Square in Seminole for many years, where they had a large social circle and loved to go out to eat. Mr. Strible was always after a good crab cake — but never could find any that rivaled Maryland’s.

He was most proud of his large family — four children, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren — and was particularly looking forward to celebrating his 100th birthday next year with all of them. On the day of his death, a nurse helped organize a video call. Each family member told him they loved him.

[The Tampa Bay Times, Obituary]

Emil Sudol, 91, St. Petersburg

Emil Sudol in January 2020
Emil Sudol in January 2020 [ Courtesy of Mike Magur ]

Emil Sudol, a Korean War veteran, loved nothing more than spending time with friends at his favorite St. Petersburg haunts, like the Casual Clam.

Mr. Sudol was born in New Jersey and moved to Florida in 1971, where he worked over the years for Val-Pak and as a cook. He was an avid reader, piling up magazines and newspapers at his house, and especially enjoyed military history, his nephew said. “He was kind of free and independent,” he said. “He liked being himself, being with friends, and going out at night.”

Mr. Sudol was discharged to rehab at Seminole Pavilion at Freedom Square in early April after a fall sent him to the hospital. The facility has had a major coronavirus outbreak.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Ingrid Lübkemann Swartz, 91, Sun City Center

Ingrid Lübkemann Swartz liked music, silly jokes and tennis. She was born in Germany, a child when World War II began.

Later, she became a translator and typist for a bank, able to speak five languages.

She strummed guitar for her children and played with them in tidal pools.

[Obituary]

Theresa Szubartowski, 99, Seminole

Theresa Szubartwoski came from a big Polish family that had settled in Marinette, Wis., but farm life wasn’t for her. She and her three stylish sisters moved to Chicago and started working as soon as they could. During World War II, she got a job selling war bonds at Western Electric and stayed there for the rest of her career.

She and her husband retired to Florida about 40 years ago. They traveled the world and filled their house with souvenirs: brass plates from Egypt and golden statuettes from India. Relatives loved to come visit, to catch up on her stories, play card games or swim in her pool.

” If you came over to her house, she was bound and determined to make you eat something,” her son said. “She was a generous, good person.”

She moved into Freedom Square, a retirement community in Seminole, earlier this year to recover from a surgery and caught COVID-19 when the facility had an outbreak.

[Tampa Bay Times, Obituary]

Wayne Tiggett, 69, Palm Harbor

Wayne Tiggett was involved with a variety of churches and worship centers, and he served as the pastor for the United Christian Center in New Port Richey. Tiggett was formerly a firefighter with Clearwater Fire & Rescue, where he was a district chief. After his career as a firefighter, he headed a program at Abe Brown Ministries that helped reacclimate people who had recently been released from prison.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Smith-Youngs Funeral Home]

Master Sgt. Brian K. Tolliver, 46, Pinellas Park

Master Sgt. Brian K. Tolliver, 46, served with the Army Reserve Medical Command in Pinellas Park, most recently as the command’s paralegal. Of 25 years in the Army, 13 were spent in the reserve. Tolliver, from Memphis, had been awarded for honorable service, including taking home the Meritorious Service Medal. His supervisor called him a “tremendous mentor, leader, soldier and one of the finest human beings I have ever met.”

[Tampa Bay Times, Army Times]

Matthew Traskos, 91, Hudson

After serving in the Army, Matthew Traskos went to work as a meat cutter. He enjoyed camping with his wife and traveling across the country, taking a camper to Alaska and stopping in the national parks along the way.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Betz, Rossi & Bellinger Family Funeral Homes]

Gus Trizis, 88, Clearwater

In 1951, Gus Trizis came from Greece to America with $50 in his pocket, limited education and no English. But over the course of his life, Mr. Trizis worked to open restaurant after restaurant, ending with a dozen between Chicago and Florida. He made sure his children knew their Greek heritage and would send the family to visit summer after summer.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Dignity Memorial]

Alice Tweedy, 94, New Port Richey

If Alice Tweedy heard music, she was prone to start dancing.

She loved to swim in the Gulf of Mexico and to read. She was born in Boston and later moved to Florida. Her family remembers her as a caring mother.

[Obituary]

Birdie Eileen Williams Underwood, 71, Tampa

Birdie Eileen Williams Underwood, a Tampa native, spent 40 years teaching children at J.R. Booker Elementary School. She was a proud graduate of Bethune-Cookman University and an active member in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

Even after retiring from the Hillsborough County school district, Ms. Underwood still wanted to help children and worked as a part-time reading tutor.

[Hillsborough County medical examiner, Aikens Funeral Home]

Michael “Mickey” Villano, 83, St. Petersburg

Mickey Villano was born and raised in Fort Lee, N.J. He met his wife of 57 years, Barbara, in high school there. He started a plumbing business in his home state, then moved it to St. Petersburg in 1979.

“This world was much better with him in it,” reads his obituary. “Never was there a stranger known to him. He was a kind, giving soul to anyone who was in need. A great provider to his family, a loving husband and father, son and brother.”

Since his wife, a child care worker, died in 2016, Villano had lived in a nursing home, where he was known as “an independent, resilient person, one of their favorites.”

“That was Mickey!”

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Nicholas Virgilio, 80, Largo

In retirement, Nicholas Virgilio worked as a security guard for the Home Shopping Network. But before, he owned businesses across Florida — in Key West, Miami, Tampa, Madeira Beach and more. He was an usher at St. Jude’s Catholic Church and was a member of different fraternal organizations, like the Elks Lodge and Loyal Order of Moose.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Forever Missed]

Joseph Patrick Wall Sr., 74, Land O’Lakes

Joseph Patrick Wall Sr. was born and raised in Queens, N.Y., where he worked for Verizon as a splicer. He moved to Florida in 2005 and enjoyed traveling, golfing, bowling and surfing YouTube. An avid reader, Mr. Wall also savored his daily crossword puzzles. And “there was not a pet in the world that did not return his affection,” his obituary said.

Mr. Wall was proud of his Irish heritage, his strong faith and deep love for his wife of 32 years, Denise. He is also survived by five children and 13 grandchildren.

“In his last days, he was more worried about his family than himself,” his obituary said. “He was even concerned that his buddy Stefan the cat was getting his treats.”

[Loyless Funeral Homes]

Michael Wanner, 61, Plant City

Michael Wanner, shown in 2014 with Kyle Hamilton.
Michael Wanner, shown in 2014 with Kyle Hamilton. [ Courtesy of Jennifer Coons Hamilton ]

Michael Wanner was the first Hillsborough teacher known to have died of COVID-19, though the school district said his death was not work-related.

The Plant City High School teacher taught marine science, earth space science and forensics. Fellow science teacher Richard Dorton described Mr. Wanner as “one of the most knowledgeable people,” who could set up complex, table-top crime scenes.

The Boy Scout leader could be found selling the troop’s strawberry jam at school and enjoyed telling stories around the campfire. One parent recalled how his son became an Eagle Scout at Wanner’s encouragement. Fellow scouting parent and co-worker Jennifer Hamilton described him as kind-hearted and thoughtful.

“He was a gentleman,” Hamilton said. “I like to think he aligned with old-fashioned values.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Douglas Werth, 73, St. Petersburg

Douglas Werth worked as a Pinellas County schoolteacher for 35 years, including as a social studies teacher at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, according to the Pinellas school district. He retired in 2004.

Tributes from former students poured in on a post in a Northeast High alumni Facebook group: “Love Mr. Werth. He was a wonderful and challenging teacher.”

“I remember when he dressed up like Abe Lincoln. His humor kept my attention in class, and he was responsible for my love of world history.”

“We used to play basketball together. He let me drive his ’64 ‘vette convertible for prom my senior year. What was he thinking? He was a good man.”

[Facebook, Pinellas County Schools, Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner]

Ruby Whiddon, 84, Brandon

Ruby Whiddon’s obituary defines her foremost by her family: “Ruby was a loving and faithful wife, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, mee-maw, grandma and friend.” She also was a softball coach, a camper, a boater and a woman who loved to fish alongside friends whenever she could.

Her family held a service over Facebook Live. Her casket was piled with yellow roses.

[Hillsborough County medical examiner, obituary, Facebook]

Douglas Wolfe, 81, Port Richey

As a Poughkeepsie police officer, Douglas Wolfe was known for handing out speeding tickets and for serving as the safety director of a bus company. In Florida, he was a school bus driver for Pasco and Pinellas counties. He also served in the United States Army.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy]

Sherman Andre Wright Sr., 48, St. Petersburg

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Sherman Wright was a high school football player for the Dixie Hollins Rebels. Even after not playing, Wright loved football and rooted for his favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks. He also worked as a chef for Dan Marino. His love of cooking tied into his love of family, and he loved to host family cookouts.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Tribute Archive]

Charles Xiques, 87, Lutz

During his time in the U.S. Air Force, Charles Xiques gained a passion for playing baseball that he carried throughout the rest of his life. He loved Jesus Christ and his church family. A devoted dad, Xiques' daughter recalled how he was always happy when she called, no matter how late it was.

[obituary]

Don Yontz, 80, Palm Harbor

Don Yontz could’ve gone pro.

He was an All-American football star at his high school in Saltville, Va., then crossed the West Virginia line to star at what was then Concord College, where he also lettered in three other sports. In 1962, he was one of the best collegiate players in the state on both sides of the ball and led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in yards-per-punt, and he graduated as the school’s all-time interceptions leader.

NFL teams approached Mr. Yontz, but he turned them down in favor of raising a family, finishing school and focusing on a business career. He worked for companies including DuPont before starting his own human resources and management consulting firm.

He’s been inducted into the athletic halls of fame in Smyth County, Va., and at what’s now Concord University.

[Obituary, Roanoke Times, Concord University]

Doris Yost, 97, Seminole

Doris Yost had turned 97 just a few weeks before she died on July 3. After growing up in Lebanon, Penn., Ms. Yost became a longtime resident of Cocoa Beach and moved to Seminole in 2011.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy.com]

Nikolaos Zaharopoulos, 66, Holiday

Nikolaos Zaharopoulos was born in Greece in the mid-1950s. His family said he always made sure the family stuck together and knew their bond could get them through anything. They said he also was strong enough to brush things off, and he always provided for his family. “It was the world to us,” they wrote.

He leaves behind his wife, three daughters, two sons, three brothers and a sister.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Legacy, Obituary Manager]

Sheila Aaronson, 93, Delray Beach

Sheila Aaronson held a lot of power in Palm Beach County politics but was unelected.

She was, according to one political operative, the “compass” for her husband, Burt, a county commissioner. The Aaronsons had met on the Jersey Shore. Sheila outlived Burt by a couple of years, but at his funeral, her grandson recalled for the Palm Beach Post how she talked about their next life: “I know what I want to come back as,” she said, “Burt Aaronson’s wife.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Adalberto Alfonso Jr., 76, Jupiter

Born in Cuba, Adalberto Alfonso Jr.‘s life became an example of the American Dream, his family wrote.

He was an accomplished engineer over his 40-year career at Florida Power and Light and NextEra Energy Resources. He also was an avid reader and tried to keep learning throughout his life.

But his family and friends will remember him most for his sense of humor, love of travel and good food, especially Spanish food.

[obituary]

Luis Alpiste, 79, Miami

Luis Alpiste, 79, pictured holding one of his grandchildren.
Luis Alpiste, 79, pictured holding one of his grandchildren. [ Miami Herald ]

Luis Alpiste, a father of four, used to wake up his kids at midnight with a cake to celebrate their birthdays.

Born in Peru as one of 18 children, Mr. Alpiste settled in Miami with his wife, Jenny, and worked as a construction worker.

“I just remember driving around with him and he’d say, ‘See that building? I helped build it’,” said his daughter, Erika Alpiste. “He was so proud.”

[Miami Herald]

German Amaya, 55, Miami

German Amaya, a native of El Salvador, worked as a banquet manager at the luxury hotel Fontainebleau to support his wife and two children, until he lost his job and health insurance in the pandemic. He was an advocate for fellow workers in his union, often lending time to others' causes.

“German was a man of integrity,” a co-worker said.

[Japan Times, MSN]

Bruce Elder Anderson, 84, Bradenton

He grew up in the cold, but after moving to Bradenton nearly half a century ago, Bruce Elder Anderson didn’t look back. Mr. Anderson had just celebrated his birthday on a video chat with family.

Come summer, his sister will bury him alongside the rest of his family in Minnesota.

[Bradenton Herald]

Alexander and Glorivi Andujar, 41 and 39, West Palm Beach

Among the tight-knit Andujar family — parents, five siblings, in-laws — brother and sister Alex and Glorivi were best friends. They planned backyard barbecues and holiday parties, Alex’s quiet seriousness balanced with Glorivi’s high energy and passion for arts and crafts.

After Alex got sick in March, six other family members, including both parents, followed. The others recovered, but Alex died on April 4. Glorivi died 10 days later.

Not long before he died, Alex had a bad fall in the hospital when he weakly stood, trying to get the attention of his sister, who was unconscious in the room across from his. He’d needed to see her one last time.

[Palm Beach Post]

Donald Ellsworth Applegate, 92, Pensacola

Donald Applegate was the “embodiment of traditional Midwestern values,” his family wrote.

He served as a dentist in the U.S. Navy for much of his career, including during the Vietnam War. In retirement, he immersed himself in hobbies: photography, jazz music, horticulture and local history. His family said he favored romantic ballads like Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye and could readily be coaxed into singing for a group. He also liked to film family events with 16 mm film, “including backyard, Midwestern summer badminton games, as well as staged antics like incongruous multitudes emerging from his 1959 VW Beetle.”

After his wife’s death, he spent his last years in a long-term care center where the nurses taught him how to use an e-reader to enlarge the text. Thanks to that innovation, he enjoyed reading until the last week of his life.

[obituary]

Sandra Aprilah, 64, West Palm Beach

Not long after they met on a dating app three or four years ago, Sandra Aprilah asked John Cole Jr. to move in with her. Both were looking for companionship, and they developed a quick bond. They fished off a bridge — Cole doing the baiting, Ms. Aprilah the reeling — and took their catch home to clean and cook. They went to church and the movies together, and he brought her bagels and sausage sandwiches.

Earlier this year, Ms. Aprilah told an old friend to look after Cole if anything happened to her, and in March, she came down with a fever. She died April 5, with Cole caring for her until the end.

[Palm Beach Post]

Jane K. Araguel, 69, Destin

Jane Araguel was an award-winning realtor in the Destin area for over 30 years, someone who “radiated a passion for exploration and discovery of new adventures,” her family wrote.

She loved being active and cultivated many outdoor hobbies, including deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snow skiing. She also was a licensed pilot.

[obituary]

Ramfis Bayardo Arias, 49, Miami

At random, Ramfis Bayardo Arias would take one of his five children for a day out, bonding while they went to the movies or the beach. He loved basketball and spontaneous celebrations. Born in Nicaragua, Mr. Arias moved as a teenager to the United States, where he started working as a taxi driver. Later, he went to work for American Airlines.

[Miami Herald]

Christine Armour, 88, West Palm Beach

Even after retiring from the post office, Christine Armour kept busy. She started her own business sewing African clothes, volunteered at a food pantry, spent time at church and ushered at movie nights in a senior living community.

Her granddaughter said Ms. Armour helped to raise her while her mother worked. She said Ms. Armour had a heart of gold.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Jeannette Beatty Asbed, 88, Naples

When Jeannette Beatty Asbed attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., undergraduate women were not allowed to study at Harvard’s Lamont Library. Fifty years later, she planned her class reunion and made a point to stage the big group photo there.

Her family remembers Ms. Asbed building a life around “tolerance, active volunteering, lifelong learning and a love of travel.” A pharmacist and frequent mentor, she hosted foreign exchange students and occasionally wrote letters, even to strangers, celebrating when she saw they had succeeded at work.

[Obituary, Fuller Funeral Home-Cremation Service]

David Lee Ashton, 89, Arlington

Family always came first for David Lee Ashton, who worked to make sure they were always provided for. He also was devoted to his wife, who died in 2005 after being ill for years. Mr. Ashton was a retired pipe fabricator.

[Florida Times-Union]

Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, West Palm Beach

Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala worked with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and had been battling health issues before contracting COVID-19. He was a corrections deputy before being promoted in 2016.

He had three children, who his ex-wife said were his everything.

[Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Sun-Sentinel]

Yansi Ayala, 11, Fort Lauderdale

Yansi Ayala became the second 11-year-old to die from coronavirus in the state. She had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, asthma and heart disease.

[NBC Miami 6]

Earl Bailey, 56, Sunrise

Earl Bailey was a nurse who used to play worship songs and bring co-workers to the gym. He visited multiple hospitals in South Florida and had five children and five grandchildren.

His daughter, Sashia, said Mr. Bailey was sure he’d recover from COVID-19. But his breathing faltered quickly. “He loved to take care of people,” she said.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Doris Baker, 94, Fort Lauderdale

For years, Doris Baker traveled around the country in her RV. She had been planning to go to Costa Rica and see the rainforest.

For the last seven years, Ms. Baker lived at Atria Willow Wood, an assisted living facility in Broward County. There, she helped with a number of activities, but was most famous for calling bingo. She was the seventh resident of the facility to die from COVID-19.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Stuart and Adrian Baker, 74 and 72, Boynton Beach

Their son said they died six minutes apart. They had been married 51 years.

After their deaths, relatives set up an online fundraiser in their honor, to support a scholarship for students from a public housing project in Queens where Stuart Baker had lived as a child.

[Palm Beach Post, CNN]

Peter and Eleanor Baker, 85 and 84, Webster

Peter and Eleanor Baker, married 62 years, died a day apart. The couple loved golf parades, holiday celebrations, bake sales and country drives. They raised five children in New Jersey, then bought a motor home in retirement and split their time between Pennsylvania and Florida.

Peter was a former police captain famous for his blueberry pancakes, and Eleanor was a legendary hostess who loved gardening. Their children believe the two might have contracted COVID-19 at the annual reunion of retired New Jersey State Police in Melbourne, Fla., in early March.

At the hospital, Peter was put on a ventilator. The children gathered outside Eleanor’s window, waving and telling her they loved her on the phone. A nurse helped the couple have a last reunion in the ICU, where Eleanor held Peter’s hand.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Bennett Bakst, 88, Boynton Beach

For many years, if you were in Manhattan and needed a drugstore at an odd hour, Bennett Bakst was your guy. His Kaufman Pharmacy — one of many New York City drugstores he owned — was for a time the only 24-hour drugstore in Manhattan, open around the clock even during the city’s 1977 blackout.

Mr. Bakst retired to Florida, where he served as a Citizen On Patrol on Palm Isles every week for two decades and cared for his wife of nearly 50 years, Shari, through a long illness.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Irwin and Theodora Balaban, 87 and 88, Boynton Beach

The Balabans were so in sync, they seemed like “one person” to their kids.

Irwin Balaban was a big-thinking entrepreneur from Brooklyn who had tremendous Jewish pride, his family said. He was an engineer for defense contracts for years, then founded a company in 1982 that uses robots and computers to help streamline warehouses for clients like Boeing and NASA.

Theodora Balaban, originally from Queens, was a scarf and accessory buyer at Macy’s when she met Irwin at a party. She loved cooking meals for family gatherings and was famous for a matzoh-ball soup recipe once published in the New York Daily News, family said.

The Balabans died a week apart. The family had to conduct a funeral on Zoom. With limited people at graveside, “it felt like we gave eulogies to the wind,” their daughter said.

[Palm Beach Post]

Nancy Stauber Ballas, 59, Jacksonville

Nancy Ballas worked for State Farm Insurance for more than 30 years, then devoted her time to working at the Beaches Historical Museum and Gardens and tending her herb garden. She also loved beading, Bunko and spending time with friends and family.

“It will be hard to imagine we will only have her smile and laughter in our memories and our hearts,” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Bettye Withers Barnes, 100, Jacksonville

Bettye Barnes faced tragedy young, when her first husband died in World War II, leaving her with two young daughters. But she found happiness again and remarried in 1948. Eventually, she had two more daughters, 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Ms. Barnes and her husband were married over 67 years and became deeply involved in community service in their hometown, Savannah, Ga. A shelter for homeless women is named after them, in recognition of their long-term service.

[obituary]

Carol “Gabby” Barrett, 73, Pensacola

Gabby Barrett crisscrossed the skies as a flight attendant for Delta for more than 40 years. Whether working transport flights to shuttle troops to the Middle East or finding new friends in a foreign country, she was comfortable in any situation.

“She flew some of the most grueling international trips, and it barely affected her,” said a friend. “She’d get home from a trip and want to know, right away, what was planned for that evening.”

Passionate about exploring other cultures, her condo became more of a museum than an apartment, filled with treasures she collected from around the world.

Shortly before she came down with COVID-19, Ms. Barrett had spent two weeks in Egypt, texting friends photos of her camel ride and hot air balloon trip over the Valley of the Kings.

[ABC, Gulf Breeze News]

Pablo Maximino Barrientos, 82, South Florida

After his dying father pled for Pablo Maximino Barrientos to flee Cuba, the man left with his wife and 3-year-old daughter in the early 1970s. When he arrived in the United States, he became emotional, his wife said, saying that along with the Cuban flag, he’d embrace the American flag of liberty.

Mr. Barrientos made elaborate wood carvings to give as gifts and seemed incapable of having a bad day. He was the kind of person who had to help others, his wife said, pulling over to broken-down cars on the highway to assist.

[Miami Herald]

Nancy Bryant Barry, 82, West Palm Beach

A third-generation Floridian, Nancy Barry “was as unconventional as they come,” her family said. A nudist, a poet, an activist and a letter-writer extraordinaire, she always saw the best in people and made them feel welcome at her table, sending guests home “with baked goods, seeds and smiles.”

For years, she hosted a talk show on a local radio station, WPBR. With her soulmate, she later traveled across the Southwest in an RV nicknamed “Sluggo,” with a small zoo of animals: Cats, dogs and a flock of quails.

[obituary]

Judy Marie Barton, 72, Baker

She loved her career as a school crossing guard, and in her free time, she loved listening to Conway Twitty, playing bingo and coloring pictures to give to her family. Judy Barton was quick to make people laugh and was known for both her kindness and feistiness. She was a mother of five, a grandmother of 15 and a great-grandmother of 17.

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary]

Herb Baum, 83, Jupiter

Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch was set to open April 15. Herb Baum, who stewarded the construction, delayed it because of the coronavirus. Baum felt passionate about protecting animals and also built a 28-acre property as a sanctuary for unadoptable dogs.

In business, Mr. Baum headed several large corporations like Campbell Soup North and South America, Hasboro Inc., the Dial Corp. and others.

He died on April 20.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Cynthia “Cindy” Bean, 65, Palm Beach Gardens

Originally from Michigan, Cindy Bean moved to Florida to work for IBM and never left.

Her love for nature began young, her family remembers, when she “adopted” a raccoon family as a child (her father had to convince her they were not pets and helped her release them back into the wild.) “She always looked for the good,” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Richard Eugene Bell, 70, Daytona Beach

Richard Bell — known as B.B. — grew up in Volusia County and played football, basketball and baseball at Campbell Senior High School, then studied at Lane College in Tennessee.

For many years, he worked for the Daytona Beach and Orlando airports, and he was the primary caregiver for his mother before her passing in 2013.

[obituary]

Richard Beltram, 75, West Palm Beach

Before sleeping and after he woke up, Richard Beltram kissed his wife, Mona. He had two children and used to work as an accountant.

The couple bought a place in Florida earlier this year, excited to be snowbirds before he fell ill.

[Palm Beach Post]

Shannon Bennett, 39, South Florida

[ Miami Herald ]

Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Shannon Bennett was Florida’s first law enforcement officer to die from COVID-19. He worked as a school resource deputy at Deerfield Beach Elementary, just south of Boca Raton.

The 12-year officer contracted the virus in the line of duty, Sheriff Gregory Tony said.

Mr. Bennett was planning a wedding for December with his fiancé, Jonathan Frey. The two got engaged last year at Disney World.

“He just wanted to be remembered as a fun-loving guy and somebody that was always here for people,” Frey told People magazine.

[Miami Herald, People]

Evelyn M. Beozubiak, 88, Wellington

Evelyn Beozubiak graduated from college “at a time when having an immigrant parent and being a woman made that difficult,” her family wrote. She taught generations of fourth-graders in Aliquippa, Pa., the town where she grew up, and moved to Florida in 1997.

She loved the Pittsburgh Pirates and her dogs, Peeki, Peppy and Sparky.

[obituary]

Julian “Dick” Bernstein, 88, Boca Raton

Dick Bernstein traveled a lot for work, and in retirement, he kept moving, touching six continents. An Army veteran who worked on disposal of explosive ordinances, then later an exporter, he enjoyed food, wine and golf.

On their latest trip, shortly before his death, he and his wife traveled to New Zealand and Australia.

[Palm Beach Post, Legacy]

Amy Joyce Berger, 55, Bradenton

An independent spirit surrounded by a big family, Amy Joyce Berger tried to make her own way. She had Down’s syndrome, and when her health issues became too pressing in recent years, she moved into a nursing home. Her family remembers her as crafty, opinionated and giggly, with joy that spread. She loved puzzles, music and sports, and on Christmas, couldn’t wait to put on a stocking cap and light-up sweater to hand out presents.

[Obituary]

Claretha Boatman, 86, Carver Shores

Claretha Boatman was like a grandmother to all the kids at her in-home after-school program and to those she helped at the Boys & Girls Club.

Along with her volunteer work, Ms. Boatman coached sports teams, was a scout leader and taught Sunday school. She also was an appointed “church mother” who mentored other women in her congregation.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Herman Boehm, 86, Mount Dora

Herman Boehm’s travels marked the seasons of his life — the chance meeting at an airline ticket office 50 years ago with the woman who’d become his wife, their regular trips to Europe, a year spent sailing around the Bahamas.

In January, a few months after the 86-year-old with the clear blue eyes declined to have heart surgery, he told his wife he had a “last wish”: a cruise to Venice, Italy, followed by a stay at their condo near the Germany-Austria-Switzerland border. But the March cruise was cut short as the coronavirus spread aboard. Mr. Boehm fell sick and died in his bed several days after the couple returned home.

“I miss him very much,” Katica Susec-Boehm said. “I loved him very much. He was everything to me."

[Orlando Sentinel]

Reno Boffice, 61, West Palm Beach

Reno Boffice got a plasma transfusion from a COVID-19 survivor, but it didn’t come soon enough.

The principal of the Palm Beach Maritime Academy died 12 hours after getting the treatment. His sister said she felt bureaucratic hold ups delayed the potentially life-saving effort. The plasma donor saw a call for help on Facebook and decided to do what she could for Mr. Boffice.

“He has a nice face,” she said.

[Palm Beach Post]

Mary Frances Bond, 82, Panama City

Originally from Mississippi, Mary Frances Bond “was the epitome of a great southern lady,” her family wrote.

She was involved in her Baptist church and co-chaired Children of the American Revolution for many years. “She loved her family fiercely and made everything she did beautiful and special,” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Melissa Boyce, 87, Boca Raton

Loving but firm, after raising her own children, Melissa Boyce became a teacher at a Christian academy in Massachusetts.

A native and longtime resident of Rhode Island, she doted on family members with letters, apple pies and chocolate chip cookies. She traveled to keep close to them, even after she moved to Florida.

In an obituary, they remembered the way she delighted in little joys, like a steaming cup of clam chowder or the sound of a child laughing.

[Palm Beach Post, Legacy]

Kathryn Louise Bozeman, 78, Hawthorne

A Pentacostal believer and homemaker, Kathryn Bozeman loved cooking, church and her grandchildren, who affectionately dubbed her “Tea Pee.”

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary]

Karen Bradwell, 53, Tallahassee

Students knew her as Ms. Karen, mentor and provider of popcorn, pancakes, movies and a safe place to go after school. She managed the “Pioneers After-school Mentoring Program” at Fort Braden Elementary School outside of Tallahassee. She had worked there more than 25 years, a “solid rock.”

[WTXL, WFSU]

Zara Arthur “Moe” Brannen, 89, Perry

A Korean War veteran and master mechanic, a welder who helped build nuclear power plants, Moe Brannen spent his free time in quieter ways. He liked to fish and garden and found pleasure in mowing the lawn and trimming trees. “He loved to help other folks, within his means; he would see that they were taken care of,” his obituary says.

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary]

Alfred Brennan, III, 79, St. Augustine

Alfred Brennan was a well-known voice on radio stations WFOY, WAOC and WSOS, a big personality on air who was also a common sight (and sound, as DJ or announcer) at community events.

Historic City News puts it this way: “Jetting around St. Augustine and St. Johns County, rolling up to the scene of a story in his compact car marked with magnetic signs and occasionally an emergency light, was how Al Brennan will be remembered by the scores of people who were the subjects of his often brief, impromptu interviews.” He sought stories with local flair and wrapped his newscasts the same way every time. “This is . . . Al Brennan, reporting.”

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary, Historic City News]

Jennifer Lee Brignoni, 34, Miami

When Jennifer Lee Brignoni was born and diagnosed with a type of Down Syndrome, doctors said she would have, at most, 13 years to live.

Instead, she lived long enough to become an active member of her community, participating in Special Olympics, graduating from high school and helping at a coffee shop. She liked to cook, talk to friends on the phone and practice her French. She was loving and warm, and her family called her “Panda.”

[Miami Herald]

Carole Brookins, 76, Palm Beach

A pioneering woman in finance, Carole Brookins was one of few in the field in the 1970s. She carved out a career of expertise in the global political economy, especially as it related to agriculture and food, despite having started out making half the salary of male co-workers. She was executive director of the World Bank from 2001 to 2005. Her golden rule was to treat all countries fairly in the realm of food.

She spent half of her time in Paris, and half in Palm Beach, when she wasn’t trekking through World War II battle sites.

[New York Times]

Gwendolyn Brown, 69, Palmetto

She was the first African-American commissioner of Manatee County. It was at an emergency meeting that commissioners announced her death.

Gwendolyn Brown was elected in 1994 and held office until 2010. A high point came when she shared a walk with Lawton Chiles, Florida’s 41st governor. As son Ed Chiles remembered the scene: “It was a walk we were doing north of the river, and we were in some of the neighborhoods where she had done a lot of work. I just remember her side-by-side with Dad, and the way that people reacted to that and seeing the two of them be together and big smiles on their face.”

[WUSF]

Johnnie Brown III, 47, Jacksonville

Officer Johnnie Brown, a 15-year employee of the Florida Department of Corrections, worked at the Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler. A co-worker, writing on an online obituary page, said he counseled her through a tough time. “He spoke to me about God and his love for his family. Other things were to come after the first two.”

[WCJB, Orlando Sentinel, Legacy]

Perry Buchalter, 64, Jupiter

Perry Buchalter retired in mid-March, only about a week before he got sick. He had been a veteran healthcare executive at Quest Diagnostics.

A son called him a “quiet hero” who cherished time with family.

[Palm Beach Post]

Conrad Buchanan, 39, Fort Myers

Conrad Buchanan was working right up until he got sick, stage name DJ Griff Gotti, performing at clubs in Miami and Fort Myers. It was spring break season. His wife, Nicole, called him a “social butterfly.”

He used to sing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds to his 12-year-old daughter, Skye. When he was sick, she sang to him. “He brightened up anyone’s tough day,” she said.

[Fort Myers News-Press, Medium, Facebook]

Conrad Buckley, 52, Clermont

One of his first gigs was as a newspaper delivery boy. It instilled a love of community, one that he sought to carry on in a career of police work.

A patrol officer for a dozen years in Boston, Conrad Buckley moved to Clermont two years ago with his family. They described him in his obituary as a humble man who reflected often on the time a woman asked him if she could pray for him and for the safety of his fellow officers.

“He took tremendous pride in being a police officer and carried himself with confidence and integrity,” the Clermont police chief said.

[Orlando Sentinel, obituary]

James “Jim” Charles Bullock Jr., 81, Naples

Jim Bullock always had a reputation for hard work and frugality — going back to the time he bought a house when he was only 14 years old. He started out working side-by-side with his father in the family oil business, formed a successful Burger King franchise and later, got into real estate development in the Marco Island area.

He always made time for family. His three daughters have fond memories of going hunting, camping, making homemade pizza and taking saunas together.

[obituary]

Willard T. “Bud” Bullock, 84, Bonita Springs

Bud Bullock loved being a father so much, he tried to hold onto every minute of it. Report cards, football programs and playbills were all saved. For years, he recorded every family event, camping trip and activity with a Betamax camera strapped to his shoulder.

“He was trying to put it in a capsule,” his son said.

His focus on family was deep-seated — he lost his own father when he was 7. Through the years, he coached Little League teams and supported his four children’s dreams, then regularly flew across the country to spend time with grandchildren. “He became the man he was because of the father he never had,” his wife said.

[Naples Daily News, Obituary]

Romeo Bungubung, 66, Jacksonville

Eight years ago, Romeo Bungubung and his wife brought their family to the U.S. from the Philippines. Working the night shift as a security guard at an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, Bungubung studied for his citizenship test — his dream. Last December, he passed.

His family remembers him as selfless and hopelessly devoted. He could fix anything, build anything. They knew him to be welcoming. Meeting his daughter’s nervous future fiancé, for instance, he opened his arms wide, handed the young man a beer and hugged him hard, family already.

[First Coast News, GoFundMe]

Stanley Bunn, Sr., 75, Jacksonville

He was a family man who decorated the yard and dressed up as Santa Claus. He was a Vietnam veteran and successful accountant who loved bowling and sang in Jacksonville’s Karaoke Club. He loved his teams: “Go Gators!” “DUUUVAL!”

Beyond his career, which took him from Florida Wire and Cable Co. to American Express and then Citibank, Stanley Bunn held plenty of volunteer titles: church leader, Scoutmaster, coach, adviser for Junior Achievement and more. He and his wife, Wanda, celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary nine days before he died.

[Obituary]

Martha Alice Burt, 98, Jacksonville

Martha Burt was a trailblazer — during World War II, she served in the Women’s Army Corps in Asheville, N.C. Since 1979, she was a proud member of the Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association Chapter 56.

To her eight great-grandchildren, she was known as “little grandma.”

[obituary]

Jordan Byrd, 19, Tallahassee

He had just finished the spring 2020 semester with a 4.0. “Praise God!!!” Jordan Byrd wrote on Facebook. He worked as a custodian at the same elementary school he had once attended and took classes at Tallahassee Community College. At TCC, he was part of the Black Male Achievers program and was president of the Tallahassee Kappa League. He wanted to transfer to Florida A&M University and become an educator himself.

Friends remembered him as sweet yet determined, with a deep faith.

[USA Today, WCTV]

Renae Byrd, 32, Jacksonville

Renae Byrd announced in June that she and her husband were expecting a baby boy. She couldn’t wait. Even so, the due date came too soon — in the emergency room, where she went, coughing blood, doctors induced labor. Isaac Boyd III was born, and Byrd, struggling to breathe, tested positive for the coronavirus. Her brother told her, “Hey, you’re a mommy,” and she said, “I know.” That was the last day she was awake.

She had been careful, walking every day but keeping away from others. She took no risks, her family said, thinking of her baby. A writer and photographer, Byrd was the kind of woman who could bring out the best in people, who approached them with a smile and hard-won empathy. She and her husband had both lost spouses in recent years and had found new love together. He said, “She was ready to be a mom.”

[News4Jax]

Tim Calandra, 62, North Port

His music friends called him “Big T.” The love of his life called him Timmy.

Tim Calandra was community outreach and P.R. director of the Sarasota Film Society, frontman for blues-rock band Busta Groove, and fiancé of Roseann Falcone. They had grown up together on Long Island, then decades later, found each other again on Facebook.

Co-workers said Mr. Calandra’s favorite part of the job was running student film camps each summer. Other loves: The Sopranos, The Godfather and the Mets. Hanging out at home with Falcone and their dogs, Rocky and Quiggly.

[Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Luis Caldera-Nieves, 63, Miami

People called Dr. Luis Caldera-Nieves the “Puerto Rican Santa Claus.” He kept spirits high, even through difficult shifts as an OB-GYN, always signing off: Somos felices. We’re happy.

Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, he was a popular doctor, handing his private phone number to patients — even sharing his wife’s. He trained legions of other doctors in the field at the University of Miami and Jackson health system, and he delivered thousands of babies in his 25 years. He and his wife had six of their own.

[The Guardian]

Henry Camacho, 55, Davie

At Sumter Correctional Institution, where a COVID-19 outbreak plagued inmates, Henry Camacho contracted the virus. His daughter, Crystal, made a five-hour drive to say goodbye. She told him people were fighting for him. Astonishingly, he came off the ventilator after two weeks, able to breathe through weak lungs — then was sent back to his prison dorm with an oxygen machine, where he died.

He was serving a life sentence on murder charges, according to the Miami Herald. He was the youngest inmate to die. “My dad was the epitome of tough love,” his daughter said. “He had a way of being there for me, always knew when I needed him the most.”

[Miami Herald, WFTV]

Joseph Edward Caputo, Jr., 76, Ocala

Joseph Caputo was a long-time mail carrier. In his free time, he was an auto racing and war enthusiast and an avid modeler. For many years, he was president of the IPMS Ocala Plastic Modeler Club.

“Most of all, Joe was a loyal, fun-loving friend,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Bob Carlos and Bano Carlos, 75 and 73, Kissimmee

Bob and Bano Carlos found a home in Kissimmee, both Disney employees. They’d met in community college and married in 1966, when their interracial marriage would have been off-limits in some parts of the U.S. As a mother, Bano went all-in for Halloween and other holidays, happy to craft homemade clown costumes and peeled grape “eyeballs” to make her kids happy. At Disney, she handled reservations, working with families to plan their dream trips.

For all of Bano’s compassion, Bob Carlos cut a sterner figure. Behind his dominant voice and stature, though, he was kind and used his intimidating impression to intervene when needed, like when he saw the boyfriend of a co-worker treating her badly. At the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop, he played “Pirate Bob,” full of jokes, never breaking character.

[The Olympian, The Orlando Sentinel]

E. Virginia “Ginny” Platt Carlson, 98, Fort Myers

Ginny Carlson was an accomplished soprano. Wherever she lived — Massachusetts, Maine or Florida — she sang in the church choir.

She met her husband while working at General Electric. The couple had five children and later, she went back to nursing school and enjoyed her “new calling.”

[obituary]

Alma Carney, 91, Fort Lauderdale

In Alma Carney’s house, food almost always came from scratch. She was famous among friends and family for her linguine with clam sauce and chicken cacciatore. In the 1970s, she and her husband ran a catering company that gave deli meals to Fort Lauderdale construction workers.

Family said Carney was direct, diplomatic and loved to talk politics.

[Miami Herald]

Thom Carr, 67, Fort Lauderdale

Thom Carr played piano and sold real estate and made people happy. With his husband, J. Heider, he donned elaborate costumes for holidays and cruises.

They both got sick after going to Winter Party Festival, an annual bash to raise money for the National LGBTQ Task Force. Mr. Carr never got better.

A friend remembered the way he and Heider were so close, two people who “knew how to love and live life as full as you can live it.”

[Sun-Sentinel]

Israel Carrera, 40, Miami Beach

Israel Carrera worked long days — sometimes 13-hour ones — to be able to send money to his mom in Cuba. His roots were there, having attended the Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de la Habana. In Miami Beach, he built a life full of healthy habits and plenty of dancing. He was energetic, charming, always down for a good party with his boyfriend, Franco. It was after the Winter Party Festival that he began to feel fatigued, but while he was there, he was joyful.

[News4Jax]

David Helwig Carstater, 86, Atlantic Beach

David Carstater’s cardboard box eclipse viewers and model rocket launches for the kids were legendary in the neighborhood — that’s because he spent more than 30 years as an engineer with the U.S. Navy, even helping assist the Apollo-Soyuz hook-up in 1975.

He and his wife of more than 60 years were often heard singing to the music of their youth, like Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Beach Boys. At countless weddings, they were the last ones to leave the dance floor.

In his last days, the couple sang their final love songs over the phone. Carstater’s wife stood outside and watched him in his hospital bed through the window while a medical assistant held the phone up to his mouth and ear.

[obituary]

Frances “Fran” May Carver, 66, Gainesville

She was a “prayer warrior” who memorized Bible verses and wasn’t shy about telling people if she disagreed with them. Fran Carver was retired as a labor and delivery nurse, a career in which she had charmed patients with her sense of humor and outspokenness.

She had only lived in Parklands Care Center, a nursing home in Alachua County, for a month before contracting the virus amid an outbreak there.

[Gainesville Sun]

Shirley Cassaras, 86, Jacksonville

Shirley Cassaras was a huge fan of crime drama and also enjoyed football and theater.

She was a dedicated homemaker and cherished her time with her husband of 68 years, five children, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

[obituary]

Virginia Elizabeth Cauley, 88, Pensacola

Virginia Cauley devoted her life to teaching math. A native of Alabama, she got her doctorate at Nova University in Florida, then settled in Pensacola where she taught high school mathematics.

Later, she rose to become Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Pensacola State College, For thirty years, she was known as the best math teacher there.

[Obituary]

Pong Hui “Connie” Chartier, 79, Winter Garden

Outside her house, Connie Chartier showed a skill for gardening. She grew nuts, fruits and vegetables, and was particularly fond of the persimmon trees. She had started planting seeds several years ago when her daughter, Genie, got sick with leukemia. Ms. Chartier, who grew up in Korea and met her husband when he was in the Army, ran a dry cleaners in Ocoee.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Murray Cherin, 77, Pembroke Pines

Murray Cherin lived most of his life in South Florida. He worked in motorized window coverings.

He leaves his wife, sister and two nieces.

[Obituary]

Anthony “Tony” Christensen, 55, Naples

When Southwest Florida firefighters found out about the death of Tony Christensen, it was like losing a brother. Mr. Christensen served as a firefighter for 22 years. Hundreds came out for his funeral, where a fire engine carried his casket down the street. Firefighters and family members remembered Christensen warmly, as someone who loved a good joke, his family and his community.

[WINK News, Naples Daily News]

Barbara Chubbuck, 72, Kissimmee

Even though she and her husband lived in Kissimmee, Barbara Chubbuck still traveled back to Maine for the summers. There, she worked at a farm stand, baking Barb’s Peanut Butter Fudge, blueberry muffins, whoopie pies and molasses cookies.

She liked to work in the flower garden and watch birds. Cardinals were her favorite.

Her husband, Jesse “Tiger” Chubbuck, said the few days after she died, there were four of five cardinals in his yard.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Gwendolyn “Gwen” Elizabeth Kinsey Clark, 86, Madison

Gwen Clark trained as a nurse in New Orleans before moving back to Florida. She eventually became the director of the Bureau of Crippled Children.

She loved fishing, especially on the Aucilla and Wacissa rivers, and spending time with her large family.

[obituary]

Silvia Claveria, 76, Miami

When Silvia Claveria’s son Elias wants to commemorate his mom, he puts on Contigo Aprendí by Spanish singer Rocío Dúrcal. Ms. Claveria was born in Cuba and moved to the United States with her family. She supported all three of her children — her son mentioned how she would drive him to school because he was scared to take the bus. They had hoped to build her a ramp, so Claveria, who had swollen feet and difficulty walking, could go outside and see the sky. She died before it was possible.

[Miami Herald]

Earl A. Cody, 88, Fort Myers

Earl Cody liked to laugh and often said the way to a long and happy marriage is two words, "Yes, dear!" It must have worked because he and his wife were together for more than 70 years.

A sports enthusiast, he coached Little League games and was always in the stands cheering on his sons, granddaughters and great-grandson at their high school and college games.

He had a beautiful tenor voice. When he was young, he sang for crowds on cruise ships and nightclubs. Later, he became a building contractor but continued to sing as a deacon at his Baptist church.

[obituary]

Joseph Ernest Collins, 69, Jacksonville

Along with cheering for his favorite NFL and college football teams, Joseph Ernest Collins was a dedicated supporter of his former high school’s football team, the Raines Vikings. His daughter, who went to an opposing high school and performed in the marching band, joked about the time he came to a game and sat in the Raines' side of the bleachers instead. Collins worked as a postman before retiring.

[Florida Times-Union]

Johnny Copeland, 44, Miami

Johnny Copeland’s life took many painful turns, not the least of which happened in 1997, when a gunshot left him paralyzed. He would later be a victim once again — of the coronavirus. But in between those painful poles, his family remembered, he became self-reliant. He cooked for himself — spaghetti with sausages was his favorite — and cared for his sister’s children after she was brutally attacked by a former boyfriend.

When Mr. Copeland died, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death was both COVID-19 and complications from the old gunshot wound. The ruling meant that his death was both a coronavirus case and a homicide, one newly thrust into the hands of Miami detectives.

[Miami Herald]

Stephen Cooper, 78, Delray Beach

Stephen Cooper, an electrical engineer from New York, used to carry a photo in a wallet: it showed him with an envelope tucked under his arm, running for his life as the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

The memory became a memento. “He would bring it to family barbecues, parties, anywhere he could show it off,” his daughter said.

Born in the Bronx, Cooper worked for the New York City Transit Authority for many years. He also was a part-time activist, helping organize rallies to protest landfills in the Rockaways, where he owned a home.

[Palm Beach Post]

Tom Craciun, 77, South Palm Beach

Tom Craciun worked hard for decades, from a childhood selling berries to neighbors from a little red wagon alongside his brother to 30 years supervising a General Motors plant in Ohio. He was a strong swimmer in his youth, making it to the Olympic trials but barely missing qualification. He loved cars — buying and selling them, racing Porches and Corvettes.

He retired early and moved to Florida, where he’d meet up with buddies at Starbucks to talk about cars and girls.

[Palm Beach Post]

Lt. Chris Cunningham, 48, Jacksonville

Husband and father of five, Chris Cunningham taught his children to ride bikes and change the oil. Though he was busy as a civil servant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office crime scene unit, he was a constant presence for his kids. One of his sons, remembering a high school football game, told this story: “My senior year, we played Sandalwood. I scored twice, and my dad was on both ends. I scored the first time, he was right there. High five. And I remember the second one. He was right there, too.”

[News4Jax]

Richard Curren, 77, Fort Lauderdale

Richard Curren was married for 57 years, after meeting his wife at the University of Illinois. He was a travel agent, with a magic act, in which Sheila, of course, had a part.

They retired to Florida, where they moved together to Atria Willow Wood, an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale. That’s where he got sick.

[NBC Miami, Miami Herald]

Vincent and Edna Daddario, 87 and 84, Boynton Beach

This was the year Vinny and Edna Daddario were to mark 60 years of marriage.

They had been together since meeting at a New York City dance, two kids from different boroughs. He worked in sanitation and drove a bus; she was a secretary. They raised a family in Queens and retired to Florida, positioning angel figurines in front of their house.

[Palm Beach Post]

Ulf Daniel, 76, Jupiter

A friend thought of Ulf Daniel as a kind-of renaissance man.

He had lived in California and South Africa, Florida and Costa Rica. He loved the water and his 33-foot boat. Mr. Daniel once worked for Mercedes-Benz and had his own lighting design business. He appears in old photos as burly, tan and smiling. He was already sick with leukemia when he became infected with the coronavirus.

[Palm Beach Post]

Gregory Davies, 69, Royal Palm Beach

Gregory Davies was a building contractor who focused on craftsmanship. His work spanned historic preservation and custom homes. One of his projects was a two-bedroom cottage built in 1928 and once owned by Jimmy Buffett.

He and his wife of 46 years would often take friends on tours of Palm Beach’s restaurants, museums, gardens and beaches. His dog still comes to the door, waiting for him to come home.

[Palm Beach Post]

Robert Bernard Davies, 79, Cape Coral

Robert Davies began his career as a computer programmer in the banking and securities world and rose to become the chief information officer for Brown Brothers Harriman.

Retired in Florida since 2006, Mr. Davies became the president of the Cape Coral Republican Club and was deeply involved with his local church. His family remembers his wry sense of humor and love for traveling, politics and the New York Yankees.

[obituary]

Carsyn Davis, 17, Fort Myers

Carsyn Davis bowled on a school team and sang. She devoted time to help with Special Olympics and wrote Christmas cards to members of the military.

People remembered her as a Christian and honor student. She liked to take pictures of the sunset. Ms. Davis, the Fort Myers News-Press reported, had prior health trouble from an autoimmune disorder and cancer.

According to news reports, she had been treated with hydroxychloroquine and other unproven remedies for nearly two weeks before her death in a south Florida hospital.

[Fort Myers News-Press, Tampa Bay Times]

Charlie “Bud” Davis, 80, Glen St. Mary

The eleventh of 12 children, Bud Davis grew up on a family farm, boarding and breeding horses — even competing in the rodeo with his favorite horse, King. He stayed in the family tradition and raised livestock and grew crops. He invented farming tools but considered his big family his proudest achievement.

He was married to his wife, Faye, for more than 52 years. Many people knew him as “Papa Bud.” Mr. Davis loved Saturdays spent barbecuing by the pool. “But his favorite pastime was sitting on the porch, in his rocking chair, reminiscing about the past under his beloved pecan trees.”

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary]

Melba Collum Davis, 88, Florida

Melba Davis — known as “Moosie” to her family — had a varied career. She started out teaching first-graders in Vermont, then was a technical publications editor at the U.S. Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, Va., owned a craft business in Massachusetts and worked in real estate development and the travel industry in Virginia.

She and her husband of 65 years also were antique dealers and members of the Lakeland Universalist Unitarian Church.

[obituary]

Joan A. DeCerio, 77, Cape Coral

Joan DeCerio never sat still. “She could make anything fun or adventurous,” a friend wrote. “When she laughed, it was like she had swallowed a rainbow.”

Ms. DeCerio spent many years working for Publix and was a volunteer for many organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club and the Salvation Army. She loved all babies, especially her three great-grandchildren.

A fall in March sent Ms. DeCerio to recover at Tarpon Point Nursing and Rehabilitation, which has since suffered one of Florida’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus.

[Obituary, Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Dexter Deering, 54, Palatka

Dexter Deering wasn’t really a church guy, but he harbored deep faith, his brother-in-law said. People sought him out for advice. “He was just that kind of open, free-hearted guy," he said. He was a husband and father of three, the youngest 14, and was setting aside money for an education fund.

[First Coast News]

Betty Bliss Taylor DeJarnette, 91, Holly Hills

Betty DeJarnette grew up on a farm, the youngest of an extensive blended family that included her five siblings and 12 half-siblings.

She moved to Florida from Virginia and was once a supervisor at J.C. Penney’s. Every Friday for 25 years, she enjoyed playing cards with her best friends.

[Obituary]

Gerald Francis DeMarco, 80, Miami

Gerald DeMarco was an architect devoted to his profession. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Miami for over 30 years and encouraged many students underrepresented in the field.

His legacy as a designer in Miami can be seen in The Lincoln Theater, Little River School, San Ignacio and Christ the King churches, Firehouse 4 restaurant and the recently completed Redfish Grill.

He loved the arts, puzzles in the Miami Herald and cooking with his family and friends.

[obituary]

Francis “Frankie” DePalma, 57, Fort Lauderdale

Frankie DePalma was sober in Alcoholics Anonymous for 35 years and worked as a psych tech at Imperial Hospital.

He was known as the “Karaoke Man” to his friends, who loved his rendition of Piano Man. They also looked forward to the dozens of cookies he gave out every Christmas. “Generous of spirit, he was loved by all, funny, kind, and wise — knowing when to use each gift to benefit all he encountered,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Mercelie Derolus, 94, North Miami

Mercelie Derolus would travel from Miami to Montreal to care for her host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She loved children, especially babies, and animals. She would feed the neighborhood cats, even taking one in that would sleep under her bed.

Derolus was independent, and liked to sew, pray, clean and hop on the treadmill.

[Miami Herald]

Frank Dever, 73, Longwood

Frank Dever had a robust career in finance and the restaurant industry. As vice president of General Mills’ international division, he made dozens of trips to Japan and established Red Lobster in Canada.

He loved sports, especially the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, and terrible fiction that involved spies and twisted espionage plots.

In the 1960s, “he was a young dad of two children, and if that meant he missed both the draft and the protests...he embraced the music of the period with all his heart,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Samantha Diaz, 29, West Palm Beach

Her family called her Sammy. Granddaughter of migrant farmworkers from Mexico, Samantha Diaz worked her way through school. She landed a job as a medical assistant, with hopes of becoming a registered nurse. To care for sick people was her passion. She balanced work with motherhood, raising a teenage son and two infants.

Diaz was big on celebrations, like dancing to salsa, merengue and Tejano music, or marking milestones with over-the-top cakes.

[New York Times, Lakeland Ledger]

Petra and Gilberto Diazgranados, 61 and 63, Palm Springs

Petra and Gilberto Diazgranados met while in high school in New York. He came from Colombia and she from the Dominican Republic. Soon, he’d join the Army

They nurtured a big, close family and settled in Florida, where the virus sickened them together, along with two of their children.

Petra and Gilberto died July 18. He passed four minutes before her.

[Palm Beach Post]

Danielle Dicenso, 33, South Florida

Danielle Dicenso's family is raising money for funeral expenses and her 4-year-old son.
Danielle Dicenso's family is raising money for funeral expenses and her 4-year-old son. [ GoFundMe screenshot ]

Danielle Dicenso worked on the COVID-19 front lines as an ICU nurse at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, near Miami. She was afraid to go to work because she didn’t have a mask, her husband said, but she went anyway, putting patients’ needs above her own.

“You’re a real hero!!” her husband posted on Facebook.

Family members remembered her great sense of humor and kind heart. She left behind a 4-year-old son, Dominic.

[WSVN, Miami Herald]

Joseph E. Dickinson, 93, Bradenton

Joseph Dickinson was born on a farm during the Great Depression. He enlisted in the Naval Air Corps during World War II, then went to college and worked in fundraising for more than 40 years, including as vice president of the American Fund for Dental Education in Chicago and president of the Michigan State University Foundation.

Retired half the year in Florida, Dickinson liked to cruise the Florida peninsula with his family on his boat, the “Fun Raiser,” and also used his wood-working skills to build rocking chairs for his great-grandchildren.

[obituary]

Loretta Dionisio, 68, Orlando

Loretta and Roddy Dionisio fell in love at art school in the Philippines. After decades in America, they kicked off retirement by going back. They skipped to Thailand and then flew to California.

Loretta — Lettie, her family called her — got sick along the way. She was gregarious, her family said, but most of all strong.

“We were going to have these great conversations and be able to laugh about certain things that they did on their vacation," said her son, Rem.

[Los Angeles Times, Click Orlando, New York Times]

Donald DiPetrillo, 70, Davie

Donald DiPetrillo
Donald DiPetrillo [ Seminole Tribe of Florida ]

Donald DiPetrillo was something of a legend in the South Florida firefighting community. Most recently, he was the fire chief for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, but over several decades, he also worked in Fort Lauderdale and led the department in Davie.

Mr. DiPetrillo graduated high school in Hollywood and served in the Navy.

He “understood that success in life was about just being nice,” said William Latchford, executive director of public safety for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, in a statement. “If you care for people, the rest takes care of itself.”

[Miami Herald]

Albert DiPietro, 88, Bradenton

Once you got to know Albert DiPietro, you were likely to hear him sing or watch him cook. “If you were fortunate to be a loved one of Al’s, he was always there for you when you needed him,” his family wrote.

An Army veteran who made a career in insurance, DiPietro was devout and worked in jail ministry.

[Obituary]

Dobby Dobson, 78, Coral Springs

A singer-songwriter whose biggest hit was his 1967 rocksteady ballad I’m a Loving Pauper, Dobby Dobson helped Jamaican pop music evolve. He loved syrupy ballads and cover songs and dabbled in genres, including R&B, ska and doo-wop. The message of his hit: I may be poor, but I have love to give.

In Florida, after a successful music career, he sold real estate, but he didn’t give up performances at reggae festivals and special occasions — even playing a featured role on a “Motion on the Ocean” cruise.

[New York Times]

Forest Henry Dodson, 86, Panama City Beach

Forest Dodson enlisted in the Air Force at 18 and spent the next 26 years serving in England, Germany, Vietnam and parts of the United States. He met the love of his life on his first assignment in England. The couple was married for 62 years.

Mr. Dodson — nicknamed “Dod” — was a jokester who was passionate about his family. When not working, he could usually be found at the beach or on his boat or watching sports from his favorite recliner with sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico.

[obituary]

Barry Downes, 49, Miramar

Barry Downes, a service representative for American Airlines, was always the person to call if you were stuck. He was especially happy to lend a hand to other Barbadians, his father said.

Just months before he died, Mr. Downes got an award from the prime minister of Barbados for his service to the community. It honored the “pride of Barbados.”

[Sun-Sentinel]

Simeon Lindo Downs, Sr., 83, Miami

Simeon Lindo Downs founded a church and served as its pastor for 37 years. In 2014, the mayor of Miami-Dade County declared April 27 as Bishop Simeon Lindo Downs, Sr. Day because of his steadfast mission to extend love and praise God through his life.

His wife said he never let others' behavior affect him. He practiced what he preached, she said.

[Miami Herald]

Kenneth Drew, 77, Melbourne

Kenneth Drew worked his way up in the U.S. Postal Service. He retired in the 1990s as the postmaster in Carterville, the Illinois city where he graduated high school.

A Little League coach and National Guardsman, he traveled the United States in an RV, then retired to the beach.

[Obituary]

William Russell “Bill” Earnhart, 90, Delray Beach

After retiring, Bill Earnhart kept up his work as a doctor, volunteering as a physician at a health center in Boynton Beach. He enjoyed golf and traveling, and he hosted exchange students at home with his wife. He served on the board of the local YMCA.

While attending high school in Indiana, his team made the finals of the state’s famed boys’ basketball tournament. He later attended Indiana University and served in the Air Force.

[Obituary]

Stephen R. Ehrlich, 85, Palm Beach

Stephen Ehrlich was a pioneering corporate bond trader on Wall Street who became a managing partner at Mabon, Nugent & Co for 20 years.

Ehrlich was an ardent believer in the value of higher education and was deeply involved with his alma mater, Brown University, including funding scholarships at Brown's undergraduate and medical schools.

[obituary]

Nancy L. Eiseman, 83, Cape Coral

Nancy Eiseman was a medical transcriptionist for over 40 years, until her retirement.

In her free time, she liked nature walks, Marvel movies, antique shops and raising baby animals. She had four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

[obituary]

Lois Mae Ellis, 86, Pompano Beach

Lois Ellis “never met a microphone she didn’t like,” her family wrote. She was always the life of the party, with her fashion sense and extensive hat collection.

An eager karaoke singer, she became known by her fans as “Lolo of Pompano,” after moving to Pompano Beach from Long Island with her husband and five children in 1971. There, she was the buyer for the city of Pompano Beach for over 30 years.

[obituary]

Anne Ennis, 93, Kissimmee

Anne Ennis at Thanksgiving last year surrounded by family.
Anne Ennis at Thanksgiving last year surrounded by family. [ Courtesy of family ]

As the last two of eight children, Anne Ennis loved to spend time reminiscing with her older sister, Margaret. Family was the most important thing to Ennis, who has six children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Ennis contracted the coronavirus after a stay in the hospital for hip surgery in May, and she didn’t have the oxygen capacity to sustain herself.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Ron Eudy, 65, Crawfordville

At Christmastime, Ron Eudy would adorn his front yard with dozens of inflatable figures, just to see his 11-year-old smile. He loved model trains and taking his daughter, Cynda, sailing on the St. Marks River.

He was a former commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Apalachee Bay Flotilla, and he was a metal worker until he retired a decade ago. He raised Cynda for several years as a single parent before marrying his wife, Kim, six years ago.

[Tallahassee Democrat]

Fritzner Fabre, 41, Miami

Fritzner Fabre was a healthcare aide, caring for coronavirus patients until their sickness became his own. In Miami, his life was quiet, but he came from Haiti, where he was a rapper in a group called Majik Clik. In the days before he died, a neighbor left Fabre soup at his porch to make sure someone was looking after him.

[Miami Herald]

Manuel “Manny” Peter Fanarjian, 81, Stuart

Manny Fanarjian was a lawyer in New Jersey for more than 40 years, also serving as a prosecutor “where he earned a reputation for firmness, fairness and compassion,” his family wrote.

When not at work, he was on the water every chance he got. He loved swimming, waterskiing, tinkering with boats and enjoying a strong Bloody Mary with friends.

[obituary]

Lou Emma Farlow, 84, Palm Coast

Lou Emma Farlow
Lou Emma Farlow [ Courtesy of family ]

As a lover of crochet, Lou Emma Farlow would donate handmade chemotherapy caps for the AdventHealth Foundation and Hope 2 Help Foundation. She also loved bowling, winning bingo, mosaic art, singing and more. After raising her four children, Farlow started a career as a personal fitter for a bra company. She loved spending time with her family and her Pekinese dog, Sugar.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Billy Farrell, 84, Tequesta

Golf great Billy Farrell came from a line of PGA Tour players and lived by what you could call the family creed: “It was an honor to serve golf, not the other way around,” his niece, Mary Kay Willson, told The Palm Beach Post.

His father’s illustrious career — he was the 1928 U.S. Open champ — lifted the family out of poverty. Farrell continued the legacy, with 70 PGA Tour events and nearly four decades as head professional at Connecticut’s Stanwich Club. More than the victories, though, the gregarious family man prized sharing his love of golf with others, particularly women and children. He was giving lessons, from his wheelchair, as late as last winter.

[Palm Beach Post]

Dominic Edward “Nick” Fazzina, 88, Bradenton

The son of Sicilian immigrants, Nick Fazzina served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, then worked in the restaurant business until retirement.

Mr. Fazzina was a true extrovert who loved dancing, music and traveling. At parties, he often launched into his own comedy routines. His family regrets that, because of the pandemic, he was never able to achieve a lifelong dream to cruise to Alaska.

[obituary]

Ada Ficarra, 79, Winter Garden

Ada Ficarra once bought a car on the spot even though she didn’t have a license. Her husband didn’t, either. After moving to an assisted living facility, someone asked her to watch her mouth when she was swearing. Ms. Ficarra told the woman to go to a new table.

A native of Sicily, Ficarra grew up in New York. She loved books and Pavarotti.

[Orlando Sentinel]

DeAntuan Travelle Fields, 35, Pompano Beach

As a young boy, DeAntuan Travelle Fields taught himself to play guitar by ear. Family said his heart belonged to music — along with the guitar, Fields played the drums and bass for a variety of gospel groups. He had three children and worked in Broward County Public Schools as a janitor until he faced kidney failure.

While he was on the waiting list for a kidney, his spirit never wavered. He’d wake up early for treatment and still play music each night.

[Miami Herald]

Bernard Fils-Aimé, 67, Miami

Bernard Fils-Aimé
Bernard Fils-Aimé [ Courtesy of the Fils-Aimé family | Miami Herald ]

Bernard Fils-Aimé dedicated himself to improving the lives of fellow Haitians, on the island and in the United States. He fought to secure rights for Haitian refugees and led a cellular company that spread technology in Haiti while investing heavily in working people.

He co-founded the Haitian Refugee Center and fought against dictatorship in the country where he was born. Fils-Aimé attended Columbia University, liked to drink Scotch and became a trusted adviser to a Haitian president.

He used to bring his children with him to protests at the Krome Detention Center in South Florida. They remember him as a “freedom fighter,” as well as a loving father.

[Miami Herald]

Evy Olive Thomaston Finch, 83, Panama City

The daughter of a minister, Evy Finch became the first female switchman in the state of Florida and worked for Bell South telephone company for more than 30 years.

After retirement, she built a successful electronics business, Florida Electronics, with her son.

[obituary]

Honey Fleischmann, 87, Boynton Beach

Honey Fleischmann could have been “carved right out of a ’50s TV show,” her son said. She loved crafts and Broadway musicals and cooking healthy recipes for her family at a time when people who did so were considered “kooks.” Her myriad hobbies included gardening, doll-making and Febergé egg design.

Mr. Fleischmann’s favorite season was spring. Each year, she called her kids up and sang The Spring Song, a ritual that continued up through this year.

[Palm Beach Post, obituary]

Johnny Ray Fleming, 88, Orlando

Johnny Fleming married his high school sweetheart in 1953. The couple moved to Orlando, where Fleming worked as a department manager for Sears for 40 years, except for a brief period in the U.S. Army.

Mr. Fleming loved the Yankees, the Orlando Magic and his cat, Duke. “No matter the situation, John was there with a smile and an offer to help,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Frances and Marshall Fletcher, 79 and 79, Gulf Breeze

Marshall Fletcher served in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a physician’s assistant with the rank of captain. Frances Fletcher enjoyed playing bridge, knitting and crocheting. Both cherished spending time with their children and grandchildren.

The couple died within days of each other.

[obituary]

Nancy Emily Clark Flournoy, 76, Quincy

Nancy Flournoy was born while her father was away, serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He returned 15 months later, and “it was quite an adjustment for the little girl to have this handsome young man appear in her life,” her family wrote.

She was raised on a farm, then married and studied at Massey Business School in Jacksonville. For 33 years, she worked as the secretary for the bureau chief of the Department of Agriculture’s Seed Laboratory.

[obituary]

Maurice Ford, 50, Palm Beach

Maurice Ford was a sheriff’s deputy at the West Detention Center in Belle Glade. He joined the department 14 year ago and was hospitalized in June. He died Aug. 27, leaving behind a wife and son.

[Palm Beach Post, 12News]

Juan Reynaldo Forte, 85, Miami

Born in Cuba, Juan Forte moved to New York in 1953 and learned to speak English by watching television. He was a “Renaissance man,” his family writes, who joined the Army before he was a citizen, then worked in a hospital mailroom, in waste management and eventually, opened his own trucking company.

He also was an amateur photographer and a religious reader of the Miami Herald — he was once profiled in it for saving two children who were swept away by ocean currents. A hard worker, Forte also loved joking, dancing and pretty women.

His family wrote: “His death is due to the carelessness of rushing to reopen without a plan, causing cases to skyrocket in Florida and the refusal to acknowledge the severity of the crisis or give clear direction on how to mitigate or minimize risk. The Cuban-American community and other communities of color are stuck with the bill: needless, preventable deaths.”

[obituary]

Joseph “Joe” Foster, 40, Gainesville

Joseph “Joe” Foster
Joseph “Joe” Foster [ Miami Herald ]

Joe Foster worked for the Florida Department of Corrections, most recently at the Florida Women’s Reception Center in Ocala. He is the second correctional officer to die from the coronavirus, which has ravaged the Florida prison system, killing dozens of inmates.

The first was Wayne Rogers, who died within an hour of his wife, Lauri, who also contracted the virus. Rogers lived in Alabama and commuted to his job at Jackson Correctional Institute on the Panhandle.

[Tampa Bay Times]

William Lee Frakes and Elizabeth Jane “Betty Jane” (Booth) Frakes, both 92, Melbourne

High school sweethearts who married in 1950, William and Betty Jane Frakes died 12 days apart.

He loved fishing, hunting, woodworking and flying his aircraft, often to the Bahamas. She founded the library at her church, taught Sunday school and played piano. He served in the Army; she was valedictorian in high school and later attended the University of Kansas.

They worked together at the family hatchery and insurance businesses. They raised two daughters and lived for many years in Kissimmee.

[Obituary, Obituary]

Byron Francis and Mychaela Francis, 20 and 23, Lauderhill

Mychaela and Byron Francis
Mychaela and Byron Francis [ GoFundMe ]

Siblings Byron and Mychaela Francis died of COVID-19 11 days apart. Their mother first discovered Byron sleeping in the living room, breathing poorly. He was rushed to the hospital and died later that day. Soon after, Mychaela suffered from a fever, and her kidneys failed. Both struggled with obesity and asthma.

Byron was known as “Big Teddy Bear” by his family and had a smile that could light up a room, his mother wrote. Mychaela was nicknamed “Kayla Pretty Barbie” and was always serving others, offering a listening ear and sharing advice.

[Local 10, GoFundMe]

Devin Francis, 44, Miami

Devin Francis was just months from his wedding day. A radiology technician with a second job as an American Airlines employee, a father of an 11-year-old daughter, he worked hard. Friends called him silly names, including Gummy Bear, an apt descriptor for a shy softie who loved to cook. He proposed to his fiancée, Micela, at Christmastime, surprising her with perfume that she wanted — and a second surprise of a ring.

[NPR]

Severia Franklin, 71, Tallahassee

Severia Franklin was a woman of God. She devoted herself to Tabernacle M.B. Church as president of the Missionary Society and a member of the Deaconess Board. She spent many years with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office and liked to share Friday lunches with the ladies at the Quincy Police Department.

A wife and mother of five, she loved to laugh. As a friend wrote in a tribute: “Severia was a soft voice of advice, a gentle whisper of correction and a graceful and humble spirit.”

[WCTV, obituary]

Catherine Ruth Frederick, 70, Ormond Beach

Catherine Frederick once owned a gift shop in Georgia and had a talent for natural design. She earned her living buying and selling plants and antiques, and designing gardens.

She loved reading, film and dogs, especially her Dobermans: Rica, Diva and Lucy Ball.

[obituary]

David Fried, 58, Coral Springs

Originally From Bayside, N.Y., David Fried made everyone he met feel special. During his life, he devoted time and energy to causes he loved, including the YI of Boca Raton.

He “was intelligent, kind, had a wicked sense of humor, a deep faith and was full of love,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Howard Garlin, 89, Lake Worth

A former pharmacist, Howard Garlin “had to have a hobby,” said his companion of the last 15 years. Originally from the Bronx, he collected baseball cards and played golf.

He was a Korean War veteran involved in groups for people who served. He died about a week after his birthday.

[Palm Beach Post]

Mike Garone, 91, West Palm Beach

Mike Garone’s son called him a “character,” which was perhaps an understatement.

He played Minor League Baseball but didn’t stick. He joined up as a police officer in New York City, where he liked the jazz clubs, and later went to school to become a nurse.

On Facebook, where he wrote about his life, he talked about trying to break into acting and modeling, searching for fame after sports.

[Palm Beach Post]

Thomas A. Gero, 74, Fort Lauderdale

Thomas Gero was a certified accountant and Rotarian with a “big heart and quirky style.”

His family wrote that “his best fur buddy, Zippy ... is still waiting by Tom’s chair for Tom to come home.”

[Obituary]

Patricia Gibbons, 76, Naples

When Patricia Gibbons started going steady with her future husband, she was a 15-year-old hospital volunteer, dreaming of becoming a nurse.

She achieved that dream and much more. Her first job was in the newborn unit of a hospital in Pennsylvania. Later, she worked the night shift in an intensive care unit while caring for her four sons during the day.

Her husband’s career took her across the country and around the world — including a 5-year stay in Bangkok, Thailand, where she taught English to children. In 55 years together, the couple shared 22 homes. “Pat managed to combine her adventurous spirit with helping children out wherever we went,” her husband said.

The couple moved to Naples in 2007. There, the two were trustees of the Naples Children’s Education Foundation and the Southwest Florida Children’s Charities.

[Naples Daily News, Obituary]

John Gness, 77, Tice

John Gness’ stepdaughter took him to her 5-year high school reunion as a date. Her friends loved him.

He retired from Massachusetts and made regular visits to the casino and a local Moose Lodge, she said. He loved the New England Patriots. He left her with this: “He wanted me to take care of my mom."

[Fort Myers News-Press]

Ella Mae Gordon, 78, Hawthorne

Ella Mae Gordon wouldn’t let a visitor leave empty-handed — and this matriarch had a lot of visitors, from her nine children to 200-plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She’d grab a blanket from the couch or a bowl from the pantry, even a Reader’s Digest if she had one around.

“She’s been like that since I’ve been born,” said her youngest daughter, Dorothy. “That’s the type of woman she was.”

She prayed by the couch before taking her decaf coffee with a bit of cream and tore scriptures out of the Bible to read them around the house. For a long time, she worked alone to feed her family, waking at 4 a.m., walking a dirt road and churning out her famous scratch biscuits. She was engaged to Pedro Torres, who loved her toughness.

[The Independent Florida Alligator, District 8 medical examiner]

Susan McPherson Gottsegen, 74, Palm Beach

Splitting time between New York and Florida, Susan McPherson Gottsegen and her husband were movers in a Palm Beach cultural scene. They supported the local symphony and The Society of the Four Arts. A friend described Ms. Gottsegen as a practiced host who enjoyed music, a “beauty in our midst.”

[Palm Beach Post, Legacy]

Sonia Ivelisse Goveo and Rubén Merced, 68 and 72, Oviedo

Sonia Ivelisse Goveo and Rubén Merced were the hosts. Huge, vibrant family gatherings filled their home in Puerto Rico and later in Florida. They cooked, they worshiped, they laughed — everything together.

They died one week apart.

“From the very beginning, they made you feel comfortable,” the leader of their church said.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Gary Carleton Gray, 70, Port Charlotte

Gary Gray was a lifelong musician. After college in Vermont, he moved to Arkansas to tour with his band, The Country Classics. In 1979, he settled down in Nashville, where he spent 20 years honing his songwriting skills and performing in Writer’s Nights.

He bought a house in Port Charlotte in 2007, where he continued singing and writing songs, including a Willie Nelson tribute at the Cultural Center in Port Charlotte in 2009.

During the pandemic, Mr. Gray’s family says he was careful to wear a mask and carry hand sanitizer at all times. He still got the virus. “The mask Gary wore did not protect him from the virus that was in the air because some people do not wear masks,” they wrote. “It is too late for our family because Gary is gone, but if we work together, maybe we can keep your family members safe.”

[obituary]

Mark Greenberg, 88, Boca Raton

Atop the advertising department at Warner Books, Mark Greenberg chuckled upon the sight of his own work and received personal notes from prominent writers.

He was hardworking but fun, a man who read widely and had absolutely no sense of direction. Mr. Greenberg liked to meditate, according to his sons, focusing on a mantra for 20 minutes at a time.

[Palm Beach Post]

Jules Greene, 81, Windermere

After Jules Greene died, his neighbors turned out on their cul-de-sac and sang hymns, including Amazing Grace. His wife, Barbara, sat in her driveway with flowers.

Mr. Green had served in the Army and enjoyed jazz and traveling. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who knew the couple through church, said “they were just two loving people.”

[Orlando Sentinel]

Beauty Breedlove Griffin, 76, Miami

Beauty Breedlove Griffin would cook meals for the homeless through her Miami church — but she’d also take people into her house while she helped them find a place to stay. She founded a church service and recorded her own gospel songs. She also taught Sunday school. “My mother was the epitome of a saint,” her daughter said. “Her life was filled with her giving to others.”

[Miami Herald]

Leon “Buster” Gridley, Jr., 83, Webster

Buster Gridley lettered in football and wrestling at Norwich High in New York, served in the U.S. Army and lettered in wrestling again while he worked toward a college degree at Oswego State.

He loved his family, and lots of other things, according to his obituary: "country music, garage sales, square dancing, summers in North Norwich, gardening, rock hounding, traveling in all fifty states and animals, especially Lightning and Thunder.”

[Obituary]

Alexis “Alex” Maurice Gross, 88, Naples

Alex Gross was a plastics engineer and award-winning hobbyist winemaker.

He served in the Army and enjoyed volunteer work, along with staying active outdoors.

On trips with his family, he visited 44 states.

[Obituary]

Michael Mitchell Grote, 82, Naples

Michael Grote studied architecture at the University of Boulder, then joined the U.S. Army and served in LaChapelle, France. He met his wife on her 21st birthday, when she was a stewardess on his flight.

In Florida, Grote worked as a general contractor and real estate broker, and loved playing classical piano, racing sailboats, making gourmet meals for his family and spending time with his grandchildren, his family wrote.

[obituary]

Nunzia Guardascione, 80, Naples

Nunzia Guardascione’s children called her “the perfect Italian mother,” and she lived up to the name with her plentiful and delicious cooking: Saturday was pizza night, and Sunday was a feast of pasta e fagioli, pizzaiolo and meatballs.

Ms. Guardascione grew up in Bari, Italy, and came to New York City as a young woman. She and her husband moved to Naples in 1975 and opened Gino’s, one of the area’s first pizzerias. For 26 years, she worked in public school cafeterias, where she was known as “Miss Tina.”

“My mom absolutely adored children and being around the kids at school,” her daughter said.

Ms. Guardascione turned 80 while in the hospital battling COVID-19. Her relatives across the world sang Happy Birthday on a Zoom call.

[Naples Daily News, Obituary]

Thomas H. Guill, 91, Satellite Beach

Thomas Guill fought the COVID-19 virus as valiantly as he fought during the Korean and Vietnam wars, his family wrote.

After 28 years in the armed forces, Guill served with the space program for more than a decade. He loved playing golf and cherished time spent with his wife, children and grandchildren.

[obituary]

Helen Gutierrez-Zwick, 62, Miami

A social worker who spent three decades caring for people struggling with mental health and illness, Helen Gutierrez-Zwick devoted herself to her community with humility and laughter — and with a flair for colorful glasses.

Her work could be heavy, putting her up close with the most vulnerable, from hospice to child abuse to AIDS. But she was quick to joke, and her love flowed deeply and easily. She liked to unleash her wit on those who were too serious. Both tender and rambunctious, she touched hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

[Miami Herald]

Shadel Hamilton, 62, Miami

Shadel Hamilton was a bus driver in Miami for about 30 years.

His family remembers his strength and big personality.

He brought wipes and sanitizer and a face covering with him to work, worried about the coronavirus.

Hamilton had six children and 11 grandchildren.

[local10, NBC6, CBS42]

Chandra Haniff, 69, Miramar

While working two jobs, Chandra Haniff studied to become a nurse. Later, she worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center for 25 years. After retiring, she filled her life with hobbies, like traveling, volunteering at church and cooking. Even if only one person was coming over, Haniff would prepare enough food for an army, her loved ones said.

[Miami Herald]

Terry Lee Hanks, 73, Pensacola

Terry Hanks served in the U.S. Navy, then spent the rest of his career working for the Department of Defense in civil service roles.

Hanks survived cancer twice, never letting it dampen his sense of humor or kindness. He and his wife “were loved by friends and neighbors and were known for always being willing to help someone in need,” his family writes.

[obituary]

Betty Harrelson, 84, Jacksonville

As an employee at doctors' offices and banks, Betty Harrelson was known for her sense of humor and joyfulness. She was also known to write into the local paper to give her opinion on the latest current events. She was active in the local garden club and held clothing drives, bake sales and more.

After her health deteriorated, Harrelson declined to go on a ventilator. Her daughter said she was ready to go.

[Florida Times-Union]

Calvin “Cal” Harrison, 76, Pompano Beach

Cal Harrison
Cal Harrison [ Seminole Police Department ]

Calvin Harrison had retired from police work in February, about a month before he was hospitalized. He served as an officer beginning in the 1970s and spent 28 years working with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

In 1995, while responding to a call, he was shot in the head. After emerging from surgery, Mr. Harrison said: “I should be in a grave right now. There has to be a God.”

[South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald, CBS Miami]

Michael Hartsfield, 44, Lake Forest

A classmate remembered Michael Hartsfield as someone with an infectious smile and sweet personality. Mr. Hartsfield worked as a janitor before his death in April, two weeks before his 45th birthday. He was one of Duval County’s Black residents, a group that data shows has been hit disproportionately hard by the virus.

[Florida Times-Union]

Joseph Lawrence Hawkins, 87, Key Largo

Joseph Lawrence Hawkins, a thoroughbred horse trainer, chose a career rare for Black men and served as an example for others, his family said. Growing up as one of 13 children, Mr. Hawkins left school in eighth grade to help support the family farm. But as he got older, he got to pursue his passion for training horses and to teach his five daughters how to ride and care for them.

[Miami Herald]

Brandy Hearne, 41, Fort Walton Beach

A devoted, independent single mom of 13-year-old Alez and 6-year-old Lillian, Brandy Hearne had a contagious laugh and a tight circle of friends so close they were like soulmates. She worked as finance director at the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office but spent hours of off time with her kids and on long, laughter-filled phone calls with loved ones.

One of her friends said: “We could just laugh for hours. Over nothing. Two grown women in Target laughing hysterically because we read a brand name wrong. ... No one was ever as entertained by us, but us.”

[Northwest Florida Daily News, GoFundMe]

Deborah Henson, 56, Orlando

When her husband became ordained, Deborah Henson quickly became a fixture at Isom Memorial CME Church in Ocala, where many knew her as “first lady of the church.” She helped with music, mentored young women who sought her guidance and volunteered in church offices when her health allowed it.

A fall in her 20s had left her with plates and screws in her back, a source of nagging pain. Still, when friends and family needed her, she showed up. When her brother struggled with mental illness and homelessness, she gave him hope he’d serve his community one day. “She was my inspiration,” he said.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Davon Hill, 24, Pensacola

Bubbly and outgoing, Davon Hill had “just this loving energy,” a friend said. “If he’s in a room, you feel welcome, no matter where you are.”

His family relocated to Pensacola from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Recently, he was working at a Whataburger, where customers recognized his friendly face.

After contracting COVID-19, his symptoms quickly escalated, and his organs shut down. Doctors tried the experimental treatment convalescent plasma, but it did not save his life.

[Pensacola News Journal, ABC3]

James Hilliker, 69, Jupiter

From Shakespeare to Santa, Jim Hilliker commanded the spotlight. A long-time drama teacher, he was a student favorite at Jupiter High School.

Mr. Hilliker helped create the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival and played Santa Claus in a local parade every year. A daughter remembered how “he liked to show the kids the magic.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Erin Hitchens, 46, Jupiter

Erin Hitchens was a pastor in West Palm Beach. She and her husband didn’t believe the virus was a threat, chalking it up as a hoax. When she got sick, she thought it was just the flu and delayed seeking help. Her husband, Eric Lee Hitchens, has since urged people to take the virus seriously.

[Newsweek]

Benson Lee Hobbs, Sr., 79, Astor

Benson Hobbs’ smile and big laugh will be missed in the temples, chapters and courts of the Freemason, Shriners and Royal Order of Jesters. As president of the Homestead Shrine Club, he drove “Tin Lizzies” dressed as a clown during events and helped transport children to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Tampa.

In Homestead, he owned and operated the Hobbs and Son Nursery. He retired to Astor in 2009 and was involved in many community organizations. His favorite pastimes were poker, fishing and lighting off fireworks.

[obituary]

Katherine Hoffman, 105, Tallahassee

The one-time “dean of women” at Florida State University, Katherine Hoffman was proud to see the role abolished. It belonged in the 1960s, along with a punitive dress code and curfew. She wanted gender equity, for female students and male students to answer to the same administrators.

Born in 1914 in Winter Haven, daughter of a citrus grower and schoolteacher, Hoffman studied at the Florida State College for Women (FSU’s earlier incarnation) in 1932. Her father helped pay for her schooling with orange bundles. Student body president, women’s baseball and volleyball captain, she was a star, and one with principles. She neglected to pursue medicine at Duke University when the school asked that women pledge not to marry while studying there. In the chemistry field, instead, she ended up returning to teach at FSU. She rose through the ranks, advocating for women in both the classroom and administration. Friends thought she was eternal, zipping around in a pink Cadillac.

[New York Times]

LeRoy “Lee” Honsinger, 82, Fleming Island

Lee Honsinger was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, which led him from blimps over North Carolina to surveillance aircraft over Iceland and onto an attack squad known as “Hellrazors" under Sen. John McCain. After the Bay of Pigs invasion, he was there for the naval blockade. Post-Navy, his next stop was a 21-year career as a railroad engineer.

Though he never lost his pride for his Troy, N.Y., hometown, it was in Orange Park, Fla., that he and his wife, Carole, chose to raise their family. He loved the Yankees and Giants, John Wayne movies, his Lionel Scale train set and coaching his kids.

[Family, Obituary]

Frances Gail Hopkins, 75, Naples

Frances Hopkins was an energetic school nurse in Dover, N.H., for 25 years. Besides caring for her young charges, she was a mentor to nursing students and worked with community partners to provide youth with clothing, food, vaccinations, eye care and dental care. She also went back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in health administration in 2002, all while raising four children.

Over the years, she also was a part of her family’s various businesses. She helped run a convenience store and deli, a flower shop and a horse farm, and also designed and decorated countless residential and commercial properties.

Though they never lost sight of their community in Dover, eventually she and her husband became Florida snowbirds, spending winters and vacations in Naples.

[Obituary]

Carol Ann House, 85, St. Augustine

Carol House hated moving — she moved more than 35 times for her husband’s job. “But little did she know it was what made her who she was,” her family wrote.

She was always on the go and made friends easily wherever she went. Her hobbies included swimming, bowling, golfing, fishing and the arts. She could finish a New York Times crossword puzzle.

Before she married her husband, her partner for 61 years, she served in the U.S. Navy for four years and received a National Defense Service Medal.

[obituary]

Alex Hsu, 67, Margate

Alex Hsu was a doctor of internal medicine. “He was very genuine” and “never denied anyone without insurance,” family friend Lana Van said in a statement. Officials from Northwest Medical Center wrote that Mr. Hsu worked at the facility from 1995 to 2017.

A colleague who said he served on a rotation under Mr. Hsu posted to Facebook after his death: “A humanitarian in the greatest measure possible passed away much too soon.”

[South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald, 7 News Miami, Local10]

Araceli Ilagan, 63, North Miami

She was on the front lines until the end. Araceli Ilagan, whom friends called “Celi,” was a 5-foot, 1-inch “giant,” fellow nurse Garfield Phillpotts said on Facebook. She was intuitive with patients — even those of other nurses — and protective, a mentor and a veteran with decades of knowledge.

Like so many Filipina nurses, she studied in her home country and built a life for herself in the United States. She first registered as a nurse in Florida in 1982, eventually working in Jackson Memorial Hospital’s intensive care unit. She finished her final shift March 24 and died of complications from the virus three days later.

[TIME]

Mikhail Itskovich, 81, Miami

What became Mikhail Itskovich’s livelihood in America, and his true passion, was illegal in his home country of Russia — antique dealing. Born in Moscow, he was one of many Soviet Jews who left in pursuit of more freedom. In New York, he became a fixture at antique markets, with an affinity for 18th and 19th century artwork.

Mr. Itskovich loved to tell stories, and while best in his native Russian, family said the spirit of them could be understood by anyone.

[Miami Herald]

Lynn D. Jones, 52, Orlando

Lynn Jones was a master detention deputy at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office who had recently been promoted to corporal. He died one day short of a 13-year run with the agency.

Before joining law enforcement, he served in the Army, where he discovered a passion for cooking. This led him to a stint as head chef at Morrison’s Cafeteria, where he met his wife.

[Click Orlando, obituary]

Barbara Ann Johnson, 69, Gulf Breeze

Barbara Johnson and her husband were free-spirited travelers. They loved to take off for new adventures, “sometimes with barely enough money between them to ensure they would return,” her family wrote. They especially loved sailing around the Caribbean.

Ms. Johnson began her career as a high school teacher in the 1980s and was part of the changing nature of home economics as it expanded to include boys and was renamed Family & Consumer Science. She taught for 20 years, including her own children. In 1999, the couple moved to Gulf Breeze, where Johnson told friends “she was fulfilling her ultimate goal — being a full-time beach girl.”

[obituary]

Brad Johnson, 44, Bonifay

A beloved small-town veterinarian, Brad Johnson was known to sit beside grieving pet owners and cry with them.

A high school football player, he studied at Auburn University and became a lifelong fan (War Eagle!). He loved being out on the water and casting a line. When he opened Dixieland Veterinary Services, he began with farm calls, tending to pets and animals on the road. Because he worked in the community where he grew up, relationships with people and their pets ran deep. He admitted to sometimes getting attached.

[Obituary, MyPanhandle.com, Chipley Paper]

Lonney Johnson, 67, Winter Park

Lonney Johnson, whom many knew as “Pops,” was a “good man with a true old soul,” his obituary said. He found joy in racquetball, his faith, biking on the beach and, most of all, time with family and friends. He worked for Advent Health for 35 years and was married to his wife, Trish, for 35 years, too.

[Obituary]

Brittney Jones, 28, Fort Lauderdale

Brittney Jones started working at JetBlue last year in airport operations, based in Fort Lauderdale. She struck her co-workers as optimistic and kind. Her obituary notes the dozens and dozens of people she left behind, from her mother and twin sister and brother to adopted mothers, biological parents and six godchildren.

The same day she died, so did another airline employee, Orlando Tavarez, a quality control inspector on temporary placement in the same city.

[USA Today, obituary]

Harold Roy Joslyn, 91, Wildwood

Harold Joslyn was a World War II veteran who became a fireman and then a police detective.

In retirement, he loved traveling around the country in his motor home with his wife of 67 years and spending time with his extensive family.

[Obituary]

Gene Kalish, 77, Kissimmee

When his daughter, Jillian, was a little girl, Gene Kalish watched her dance. This year, he followed her on television from his memory care center, seeing her use sign language to translate Orange County officials’ news conferences about the coronavirus.

Mr. Kalish, a Detroit sports fan and bowler, was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle next year.

He died July 24.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Alan Kaplan, 69, Coral Springs

Alan Kaplan’s mind was made for numbers, but he also was good at recalling sporting events. His wife, Ellen Kaplan, said Kaplan was her soulmate. The two moved from New York to South Florida 30 years ago.

Mr. Kaplan worked as an accountant for nonprofits and other private clients.

[Sun-Sentinel]

George E. “Georgie” Kemp Jr., 66, Ellenton

George Kemp loved words and doo-wop. He followed NASCAR and coached youth baseball.

For 38 years, he made a career of public works in Syracuse, N.Y. That earned him a retirement in Florida.

His friends and family remember his tenderness and how hard he worked.

[Obituary]

Philip Walter Kemp, 84, Stuart

Philip Kemp was raised in Manchester, England, where boarding school life meant rugby and rowing. He served in the British Army, met the love of his life while working as a trainee manager at Boots Pure Drug Co., then went back to study at the London School of Economics.

Mr. Kemp’s career took the family to Sri Lanka, California and New York, where he worked as the CEO of Dawson International on the 62nd floor of the Empire State Building. The couple loved to travel and continued to check destinations off their bucket list in retirement.

[obituary]

Helen Kimbrell, 100, St. Augustine

Helen Kimbrell made a living through Burlington Industries, a North Carolina fabric company, and was a member of Triplett United Methodist Church. The North Carolina and St. Augustine resident was twice-married. She is survived by several younger generations, including six great-great-grandchildren.

She celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 13, shortly before the virus that would take her life came to Florida.

[obituary]

George Mitchell “Mitch” Kirkland, Jr., 68, Live Oak

Mitch Kirkland was a jack of all trades, his obituary says. He was a farmer and a barber, a mail carrier and a salesman, an Army veteran and a father. To his family, he was a legend.

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary]

Richard “Dick” Lee Knight, 86, Fort Myers

Dick Knight served with the U.S. Marines in the Korean War, then studied electrical engineering at Purdue University in his home state, later becoming a Master Mason. An avid traveler and boater, he never tired of motion, whether it was tennis, golf or skiing. In 2005, he retired with his wife, Linda, to Florida, becoming a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Society. Every Friday, he met with his buddies for lunch.

[Obituary]

Andrew Kowalczyk, 63, Doral

Andrew Kowalcykz, left, with pro golfer Tiger Woods in 2002.
Andrew Kowalcykz, left, with pro golfer Tiger Woods in 2002. [ Miami Herald ]

Banking, meditating, singing in a rock band, golfing with an up-and-coming Tiger Woods: What didn’t Andrew Kowalczyk do in his 63-year life?

Mr. Kowalczyk started his own investment banking firm and split his time between New York and South Florida. He once was the lead singer of a group called the Cadillac Rock Band and produced a compilation album to benefit New Orleans musicians impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

He fell ill in mid-March, after a trip to New York.

[Miami Herald]

William “Bill” Jude Kurth, 66, Macclenny

Bill Kurth put in 25 years with the U.S. Postal Service after serving in the Army. He spent 31 years with the love of his life, Rhonda, raising two kids. He unwound with golf and photography. After living in Jacksonville, health issues took him to Macclenny Nursing and Rehab.

[The Florida Times-Union]

Larry Kushner, 68, Boynton Beach

Larry Kushner was a father of 13 who in the years before his death tried unsuccessfully to appeal a fraud conviction.

On a tribute page, a person calling him Dad said he was a “family man full of life” and faith, who studied the Torah. According to The Palm Beach Post, he pleaded guilty of fraud in New Jersey after authorities said he took $1 million from investors and used it for personal gain rather than investing in foreclosed properties.

[Palm Beach Post]

Amanda Laffler, 28, Palmetto

Amanda Laffler was an animal lover her entire life. One of her favorite activities was petting and playing with therapy dogs at a program run by Suncoast Canines for Christ.

“Amanda was the happiest baby and never lost her infectious smile as she grew,” her godparents wrote.

Her family is asking for donations in her name to the Manatee County Humane Society or Spina Bifida Association.

[obituary]

Robin and Michael Lamkay, 76 and 82, Delray Beach

As teachers, she in art and he in biology, Robin and Michael Lamkay raised their children on ski and beach trips. They eventually retired to Florida and a life of casino, painting and crafts.

Fifty-five years after they married, they died 13 days apart. At the time they got sick, they were focused on their daughter, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer that moved to her brain. She died weeks after they did.

[Palm Beach Post]

Marvin Lawton, 60, Orlando

When anyone asked Marvin Lawton how he was doing, he’d answer, “On top of the world.” A faithful man with a jolly laugh, he loved serving God, making barbecue ribs and sharing food with family and friends. To Lawton, strangers were simply potential friends. He was a “hero” of a father, best friend to his wife and a man who told his family over and over how proud they made him. He gave great hugs.

[GoFundMe, Fox6]

Gwendolyn M. Lear, 83, Tallahassee

Gwendolyn Lear was raised in Iowa and married the love of her life just after high school. She worked as a bookkeeper until retirement.

Ms. Lear was devoted to her family and her church, her family wrote. She also loved singing hymns, sewing, baking pies, her dogs and working in her flower garden.

[obituary]

Raymond Clinton Lecuivre, 73, Middleburg

Raymond Lecuivre’s woodworking skills were so high-level that his custom baseball bats were ordered by customers as far away as Japan. But his wife, Patricia, treasures the things he made for the family most, like quilt racks and a rocking horse.

The two were married for 45 years and moved to Florida to be closer to their grandchildren. On one of their early dates dancing, Mr. Lecuivre told Patricia he knew he’d marry her.

[Florida Times-Union]

Joyce Lee, 96, Miramar

After immigrating from Jamaica in 1979, Joyce Lee had children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, then a few great-great-grandchildren.

Ms. Lee tended to them with as much care as she gave her garden of vegetables, fruits and flowers. She had last worked as a housekeeper at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Mike Leedom, 31, Lake City

Mike Leedom loved to fish and hunt and laugh, and he loved his girls — his wife, Katie, and two young daughters. Because he was a tow truck driver, he got a sendoff from his fellow truckers: A final call over CB radio.

[News4Jax]

Gladys Sabillon Leonardo, 56, Miami

As Gladys Sabillon Leonardo left Honduras and later crossed over the Rio Grande, she cried, thinking of her children at home. For years, she worked in Miami as a seamstress, sending money home every 15 days. As a teenager, her daughter joined her in Florida.

Sabillon Leonardo almost never took a day off, always working to support her family, her children said. Even as she struggled with kidney issues and the difficulty of living in a foreign country, she tried to keep up a good attitude.

[Miami Herald]

Hershel Daniel Lewis, 66, Jacksonville

H. Daniel Lewis was a Jacksonville native who studied business administration in Tennessee and Florida. Then he worked as a CPA and real estate broker in north Florida for over 40 years. Friends remembered him for his “Southern hospitality” and kindness.

[obituary]

Jack Lieberman, 70, Miami

Jack Lieberman exchanges words with supporters of President George W. Bush in 2005 in front of the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Jack Lieberman exchanges words with supporters of President George W. Bush in 2005 in front of the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. [ Miami Herald ]

Administrators booted Jack Lieberman from Florida State University for teaching fellow students about revolutionary politics. “Radical Jack” already had the schooling he needed. He devoted his life to advocacy and protest.

Lieberman demonstrated against President Ronald Reagan, advocated for Haitian refugees — co-founding the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami — and not long before he died Aug. 30 took to the street to protest police violence after the killing of George Floyd.

“If there was a movement for social justice, Jack got involved in it,” his wife, Marilyn, told the Miami Herald.

[Miami Herald, Obituary]

Tomas Edmundo Lopez, 61, South Miami

Earlier in the year, Tomas Edmundo Lopez completed his lifelong dream of traveling to Europe.

During the day, he’d work as a custodian, where he was known to sing and dance. On Christmas, he’d dress up as Santa for the students. It was his favorite holiday, and he always decorated every inch of his house when Christmas rolled around.

[Miami Herald]

Marjorie Winafred Lord, 97, Fort Lauderdale

Marjorie Winafred Lord was a child when her family moved from La Romana, Dominican Republic, where she was born, to Banes, Cuba, where her father was a superintendent of railroads for the United Fruit Co.

She would leave and return to the country repeatedly over the next 25 years: away to New Orleans as a teenager, and then back to the University of Havana, then away again to New York University. As a young woman in New York City and Washington, D.C., during World War II, she worked for the FBI as a Spanish-English translator. After the war, she went back to Cuba to teach elementary school, educating students who still called her decades later.

In the 1950s, she and her young family fled the revolution in Cuba and landed in Fort Lauderdale.

[Miami Herald]

John “Jack” R. Lynch, 86, Sarasota

Jack Lynch grew up and raised a family of five with the love of his life in Wassaic, N.Y.

He was a high school athlete who excelled in football, basketball and baseball. From 1953 to 1957, he served in the U.S. Air Force. Then he spent 10 years working in the family business, Lynch’s Amenia Market, a weekly outdoor farmer’s market. He later worked in the recreation department of the Wassaic Developmental Center.

After his retirement in 1989, he moved with his wife to Sarasota, where they enjoyed ballroom dancing and traveling. His family remembers him for “his compassion and generosity, his logical and practical approach to life, his quick wit and inviting sense of humor, and his quiet demeanor and dignity.”

[Obituary]

Kimora “Kimmie” Lynum, 9, Gainesville

Kimmie Lynum was resilient and bubbly, inquisitive and outgoing despite the recent, sudden loss of her father, her “number one hero.”

Kimmie spilled over with love for her big family, including her grandma, aunties and uncles, who ate up her goofy laugh. She liked unicorns, glitter, making TikToks, swimming at the pool and playing Roblox with family and friends. “Most days,” her obituary reads, “you could find her on her phone making her own dramatic YouTube videos.”

She would have started fourth grade this fall.

[People, News4Jax, obituary]

Sharon Ann Maclaren, 79, Port Charlotte

Sharon Maclaren was the kind of person who got things done, her friends said.

Her passions were arts and education, and she also loved to travel. She started her career working in universities, but in 1979, she opened a restaurant, the Café du Voyageur in her hometown, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. She later expanded to Voyageur Tours, started the first hospice in town with a friend and later designed and built a house.

Port Charlotte became her permanent home in 2011, and she threw herself into the area’s arts scene. She was the director of The Cultural Center’s Learning Place and volunteered to help run the Charlotte Players and Charlotte Symphony volunteer organizations. She also taught art history classes at the Renaissance Academy in Punta Gorda.

Ms. Maclaren contracted COVID-19 on the Coral Princess cruise ship, which suffered a major coronavirus outbreak in April. “It was an extraordinary life,” said a close friend. “I have been full of joy that Sharon slipped out of this life on a high of a cruise.”

[The Arcadian, obituary]

Ellen Marcus, 80, Coconut Creek

Ellen Marcus held various jobs over the years, but her true calling was caring for others. For a time, she was a stay-at-home mother, and later, she was the primary caretaker for her mother.

Ms. Marcus’ love for art spanned many different mediums, including drawing, sculpting, ceramics and most recently, woodcarving. She also volunteered her time with a dog therapy nonprofit to help children with special needs.

[obituary]

Rev. Canon Richard L. Marquess-Barry, 79, Miami

Richard L. Marquess-Barry
Richard L. Marquess-Barry [ Walter Michot, Miami Herald ]

As rector of the Historic Saint Agnes Episcopal Church for 35 years, the Rev. Canon Richard Marquess-Barry was a beloved champion of Miami’s Black community and could often be found chatting with parishioners over shrimp, rice and conch.

In his early years as a priest in Fort Pierce, he successfully sued the school board and a cemetery for segregationist policies and pressured the city and county to adopt affirmative action in government agencies.

In Miami, he was passionate about inequality and education and helped spearhead affordable housing projects in Overtown. “At another time, it would have been hard to find a house of God to accommodate all who would have attended his funeral,” a friend writes.

[Miami Herald, Miami Times]

Claudia Martin, 22, Royal Palm Beach

Claudia Martin worked at a daycare and wanted to be a nurse. On a memorial page, a woman who wrote that she was a teacher at a high school in Lake Worth remembered Martin as mature and driven. Another recalled how much she loved her niece.

[Palm Beach Post, All County Funeral Home & Crematory]

Patricia “Pat” Ann Martyka, 77, Sebastian

After Pat Martyka’s first date with her future husband, she already knew. “She went home and woke her sister, Phyllis, and said, ‘I just went out with the man I’m going to marry,’” her family wrote. The couple was happily married for 57 years.

She loved caring for her family and also was an animal lover who dreamed of starting her own shelter. Instead, she volunteered at a thrift shop that supported local rescues and fostered hundreds of cats and kittens — including some that never left.

[obituary]

Robert Matusevich, 68, Poinciana

A computer scientist by degree, Robert Matusevich was nifty around the house. Flooring, plumbing, electric — the jobs came easily. He loved to cook with ingredients from his garden.

He was most proud, after retirement, of becoming GrandBob to his granddaughter, Mikaela.

[Orlando Sentinel, Fisk Funeral Home and Crematory]

Stephen “Steve” Maxwell, 68, Bushnell

Charges of robbery, battery and kidnapping landed Steve Maxwell in prison in the 1970s. But friends said he was far from the man he used to be.

He was nearing 70 and had a pacemaker. At the Sumter Correctional Institution in Bushnell, Maxwell was known as the “Cat Man,” because he cared for stray cats in the prison, a friend said.

He was eligible for parole in 2018. But the state Commission on Offender Review didn’t grant it, and two years later, Maxwell became one of dozens of inmates dead from the coronavirus.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Mario Mayorga Sr., Esperanza Tapia de Mayorga and Mario Mayorga Jr., 72, 72 and 42, Miami-Dade County

Mario Mayorga Jr. loved the horse he kept in a rural part of Miami-Dade County. He loved Nicaragua, the country he had fled with his family as a child in the 1980s and visited as recently as January. And he loved his parents, who were looking forward to celebrating 50 years of marriage this year.

When Mario Jr., who supervised a company contracted for hospital cleaning, started feeling sick in March, his parents and 45-year-old sister soon followed. The elder Mayorgas, who had been beloved teachers in Nicaragua, died in mid-April, and Mario Jr. died soon after.

[Miami Herald]

Virginia Kay McCamish, 61, Port St. Lucie

Virginia McCamish was a nurse who enjoyed baking fantastic cakes and cookies (if she didn’t eat all of the cookie dough), all things ’80s, scary movies and dreadful daytime soap operas, her family wrote. Her nickname was “Ginger” — and her son dubbed her “Ginger of Assisi” for her love for animals.

Ms. McCamish’s family believes she contracted COVID-19 while working at Cleveland Clinic Martin Memorial Hospital. After fighting the virus, she finally tested negative. But days later, it became clear her heart and lungs were irreparably damaged. Her son, a Catholic priest, was by her side to give her last rites.

[obituary]

James Aloysius McCarthy Jr., 82, Miami

James McCarthy Jr. loved physical activity and being outdoors, whether riding his motorcycle or spearfishing on his boat.

He spent his career in the grocery industry, starting with opening a Tom Thumb Food Store in Hialeah in 1964. By 1986, he and his wife were operating 15 stores, nine Subways and seven rental properties. During those years, he served as the president of the Florida Retail Grocers Association and the Associated Grocers Credit Union.

[obituary]

Kelly McCarty, 52, Ocala

Born with cerebral palsy, Kelly McCarty had a childlike bearing and an immediate love for strangers. Her sister Terri was her protector, her sun. Living in a group home, then being treated for COVID-19 in a hospital, she didn’t quite understand why Terri couldn’t be there. Terri asked someone to hold the phone up to Kelly, so she could sing “Yes, Jesus Loves You.”

[Spectrum News 13]

Mary Jacq McCulloch, 87, Winter Haven

Mary Jacq McCulloch was never one to avoid the limelight — her family says she was prone to dancing down grocery store aisles, chatting with strangers and belting out a hearty vibrato. A Southerner from Birmingham, Ala., her expletives of choice were “fiddlesticks” and “quit your bellyaching!” When the family lived in Austria for a time, she spoke German with an unabashed Southern twang.

She taught her three children to appreciate the charms of garden “piddling,” hiking in the outdoors and throwing a perfect party. After they were grown, she rode a camel in the Holy Land, kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland and hiked the Grand Canyon.

Teaching was her calling. She was a PE teacher for years in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and later was a pre-school teacher and director of Christian education for United Methodist congregations. She was thrifty but always managed to dress to the nines. Her pre-school students especially loved her vibrant array of costumes and jewelry for every holiday.

In her later years in Winter Haven, she taught an exercise class for fellow church retirees — and never failed to show off her extensive seasonal sock collection.

[obituary]

Renada McGuire, 39, Palm Coast

Life started out hard for Renada McGuire and stayed that way, but she kept a fighting spirit, some essential spunkiness. Born to a farmworker and home health care worker, she was young when her father was deported to his native Guatemala. She never heard from him again. Her brother became the head of the household, and Renada his protector.

Her first son, who developed a mental disability, inspired her to become a home health aide focused on adults with mental challenges. As a single mom, she juggled six kids, her work and health problems of her own. She loved R&B and fishing, drawn to water as often as she could go.

[New York Times]

Desi-Rae Nicole McIntosh, 26, Fort Walton Beach

Desi-Rae Nicole McIntosh was working the night shift at a Tom Thumb grocery store when she fell ill. She and her husband were living in a motel to save money, and she was afraid of losing her job. She went to work with symptoms.

A friend found her coughing and short of breath.

She still went back to work the next day but left early to go to the emergency room and was soon put on a ventilator. Her husband wouldn’t see her again until right before she died. “We were pretty much inseparable,” he said. “We always held hands and cuddled and kissed and hugged every chance we got.”

[NWF Daily News, obituary]

Terrence McNally, 81, Sarasota

Terrence McNally
Terrence McNally [ CHARLES SYKES ]

Terrence McNally became one of the first celebrities to succumb to COVID-19. His prolific career included winning Tony Awards for the plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class and the musicals Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

His work explored how people connect — or fail to. Mr. McNally, openly gay, wrote about homophobia, love and AIDS.

Tributes pored in from Broadway. Lin-Manuel Miranda called Mr. McNally “a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly. Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.”

[Tampa Bay Times]

Linda Mehney, 78, North Palm Beach

Linda Mehney died in Florida, where she stayed in a winter home, but her pride was in Michigan.

There, she owned Grand Arabian Farms, breeding horses and marking births with balloons on the fence. Ms. Mehney brushed shoulders with famous people, from President Gerald Ford to Patrick Swayze. To relatives, she kept things running, a fact made clear this Memorial Day, when without her at a getaway, they took stock of the water and toilet paper supplies and were reminded of the many ways she had taken care of them.

[Palm Beach Post]

Iris Mensh, 79, Palm Beach Gardens

To her family, Iris Mensh was the “master of surprise.”

She was direct and carried a mischievous streak, once calling firefighters to bring their hoses and blast off dirt from the tennis courts where she played. She loved her children and wanted them to be well, demanding they eat vegetables even if she would not. When her husband said he was considering a gig touring with a band in the 1960s, she told him sure, but she would date.

“That was Iris,” he told The Palm Beach Post. “And that was the end of my career.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Peter Mermelstein, 72, Delray Beach

Peter Mermelstein was a former New York limo driver who couldn’t stop working in retirement. His wife convinced him to move to Florida, but he continued to drive for a ride-sharing company up until the day he fell ill, in the early days of the pandemic.

Mr. Mermelstein was born in Hungary and brought to Israel as a baby during World War II to escape the Nazis. In November, he returned to Israel for the last time, to visit his 93-year-old mother.

To honor his life, neighbors organized a prayer ritual, stepping out of their homes to wave at his wife from a distance.

[Palm Beach Post]

George M. “Buddy” Merritt, 70, Ocala

Buddy Merritt liked Superman and wearing a sheriff’s badge. He favored dinosaurs, too.

Merritt, born in Georgia, lived for decades in Marion County at a home for people with developmental and physical disabilities.

His family remembers his laughter.

[Obituary]

Marcel Métayer, 63, Fort Lauderdale

Pastor Marcel Métayer, founder and leader of Renaissance Evangelique Baptiste Tabernacle in Plantation, blamed his belabored breathing on getting caught in the rain. He pushed to keep his Baptist church open for his Haitian-American community, knowing it was a haven. He had built a following on “straightforward Bible teaching and preaching.” It was only on his hospital bed that he said he would move services online.

[Miami Herald, church website]

John and Noreen Metzger, 93 and 91, Ocala

John and Noreen Metzger passed away from COVID-19 two days apart.

The couple met in Pittsburgh. Noreen was an elementary school teacher who loved music. She sang and played the handbell in community and church choirs for many years. She also loved classic movies, traveling, trivia and almost any kind of game, from bowling to crosswords.

John served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II, then worked for J&L Steel for many years, finally retiring from the Allegheny County Department of Aging.

[obituary, obituary]

Shaquana Miller, 35, Fort Lauderdale

Shaquana Miller was a registrar at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, a welcoming face for patients at the front desk. She had been faithful from a young age and worked as praise and worship leader.

She was a wife and mother of four daughters.

[Local 10, obituary]

Norman Mintz, 85, Boca Raton

Once the executive vice president of academic affairs at Columbia University, where he created the computer science department, Norman Mintz held a doctorate in economics and later worked for a financial firm.

He liked to sail, his sons said, and served as a lieutenant in the Army. He met his wife in the 1960s, swimming in Nantucket. They married in less than a month.

[Palm Beach Post, Columbia University]

John William “Pat” Mitchell Jr., 74, Inverness

Pat Mitchell was born into a military life and went on to reach the rank of colonel across decades of decorated service. He saw three stints in Vietnam for the U.S. Army and later became a Reserve Officers' Training Corps instructor in Kansas. At home, he coached his daughters' softball teams, traveled with his wife and golfed.

He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder that family members said sometimes clouded his love for them. Time helped, they wrote, and they felt his appreciation “with every silly dance, every team coached, every holiday dinner and prayer and every time he bragged on us until we rolled our eyes in mock embarrassment.”

[Obituary]

Ralph Monahan, 77, Boynton Beach

For more than three decades, Ralph Monahan taught industrial arts in Buffalo. Later, as a snowbird, he and his wife spent time at a condo in Boynton Beach, where he was, of course, working on projects when he got sick.

His son called him an “all-around wonderful guy,” a Boy Scout leader and fisherman who remodeled a New York farmhouse and had “built so many things.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Carlos Morales, 62, Greenacres

Carlos Morales learned quickly. He mastered English and Creole after moving to the United States with his family from Nicaragua. He taught himself guitar and captivated listeners with classical songs.

A shuttle driver at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, he was about to move back to Nicaragua when he got sick, planning retirement with his wife.

[Palm Beach Post]

Helen Craven Morris, 87, Pensacola

Helen Morris studied music at Elon College, where she met her husband in the college choir. She was a veteran church organist and piano teacher. One of her favorite songs to play was New York, New York.

A “small-town girl,” Morris got to see much of the world. “Though she relished living in places like Spain, Panama and California, she was always proud to tell people, ‘I’m from North Carolina.’” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Stephen Edward Morse II, 65, Gainesville

A Michigan native, Stephen Morse was a newspaper reporter and editor, including at the Tampa Bay Times. Writing was his life’s work. He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis and had recently retired.

Morse was known as a deft hand, sharpening stories with focus and clarity. He was an alum of Central Michigan University.

[Obituary]

Leona Moten-Scott, 101, Miami-Dade County

Leona Moten-Scott
Leona Moten-Scott [ Miami Herald ]

Leona Moten-Scott lived to 100, then 101, and she would have kept on going, her daughter said, had COVID-19 not intervened.

Ms. Moten-Scott had her faith and was never afraid to speak her mind. She loved to fish and enjoyed Applebee’s BBQ ribs for lunch.

She worked most of her life as a cafe manager or housekeeper, but she spent more recent years living with her daughter Carolyn Moore and son-in-law David, watching the happenings of the neighborhood from her favorite chair by the window.

[Miami Herald]

Arnold “AJ” Mullins, 64, Lehigh Acres

AJ Mullins was a guitarist with The Collaboration Band, a Southwest Florida group that played soul, R&B and Motown. In June, he and most of his bandmates contracted COVID-19. He never recovered.

“This man had one of the most soulful voices you’ve ever heard in your life,” said one bandmate. The group plans to play benefit concerts in August to feed families in the community and honor Mr. Mullins’s life.

[Wink News, Fort Myers News-Press]

Dieugrand Nazaire, 43, Delray Beach

Dieugrand Nazaire was a soft-spoken math teacher at Lake Worth High School. Students called him Mr. Naz. He stayed late to tutor students in Creole, his native language from Haiti, asking about their lives and sometimes offering them a few spare dollars.

Graduating senior Johana Cruz said it was because of him that she enjoyed geometry. “Every time when you walk in, you always hear good morning from him,” Cruz said. “Even if you were the quiet kid, he would always talk to you." She said he was like a parent to her.

[WPTV, South-Florida Sun Sentinel]

Dr. Eddie Negrón, 69, Fort Walton Beach

He could dance, tirelessly. And he loved a good joke — until it was time to scrub in.

Dr. Eddie A. Negrón was a trusted internist in Fort Walton Beach, along the Florida Panhandle. Born in Puerto Rico, Eddie moved with his family to the Bronx as a boy. He didn’t speak English. Science and math — much better. He shined shoes for cash, played cello and pursued a laboratory career under the watch of his strict single mom. Later, married to a respiratory technician, he went back to school to become a doctor and landed in Florida. His niece, who lives in Ohio, recalled a serious problem her own doctors couldn’t figure out. Her uncle could — 800 miles away, he remembered a rare case, from back in medical school, that fit the bill.

[New York Times]

Nelson Nelms, 89, Belle Glade

Nelson Nelms, a retired sugar mill foreman and Korean War veteran, lived in the same white house with red trim for nearly 50 years. Though he lost his eyesight some 15 years ago, he still insisted on chipping in with the chores.

“It made him feel he was doing his share,” said his daughter, Alice Gay. “He would sweep and mop the floor, and when he went to bed, we went behind him and re-did it. But he tried.”

Each Sunday, he went to church, and each Monday morning, he sat in his trusty recliner across from his nephew Bill Taylor, a Baptist pastor. They swapped stories, as Mr. Nelms told tales from his time in the Marines to fishing on Lake Okeechobee. Besides the war, he had never left his beloved Glades. The men often talked about heaven and how Mr. Nelms couldn’t wait to go. At the end of their hour, they always held hands and prayed.

[Palm Beach Post]

Jerry Nicholas, 54, Jacksonville

Jerry Nicholas loved his large family and went out of his way to help anyone, no matter what they needed.

A church elder at Freedom Ministries in Orange Park, he “was always trying to spread the gospel,” his son said. “No matter what he was going through, in good times and in bad, he smiled through it.”

In the hospital, Mr. Nicholas was given an experimental plasma infusion from someone who had recovered from COVID-19. His health improved at first, but then suddenly declined.

[First Coast News]

Steven Nolan, 73, West Palm Beach

Steven Nolan served in Vietnam and had a career in Army intelligence before he retired in 2003. By then, he had met Adelina “Nina” Camacho, who would marry him in 2009 and later call him “the best husband in the world.”

In February, the couple booked a cruise on the Nile River to celebrate Nolan’s birthday. By the time they got on the plane home, they were feeling sick. Camacho recovered after five days in the hospital, but Mr. Nolan died March 25.

[Palm Beach Post]

JoAnna Darlene Odom, 44, Panama City

JoAnna Odom was a teacher who loved helping her students learn and treated her colleagues like family. She studied elementary education at Florida State University, then taught for 17 years.

Her family wrote that Odom “never met a stranger” and was always ready for a gathering with friends and family. She enjoyed relaxing at the beach, traveling, scrapbooking, singing and cooking.

[obituary]

Willard “Will” Linzy Oost, 84, Parker

Will Oost was a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 23 years. After, he became a police officer, eventually serving as Parker’s police chief for 12 years. In retirement, he served on City Council.

[obituary]

Graciela Ordiales, 89, Westchester

Every day at 3 p.m., Graciela Ordiales would take her rosary and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

She passed away in the hour of the Divine Mercy, on Divine Mercy Sunday. From a childhood in Cuba to raising three children in the United States, Ms. Ordiales worked hard to care for her family and others in the community. She gave often to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other organizations, saying she may not be able to help directly, but she would give so others could.

[Miami Herald]

Don Osceola, 77, Hollywood

Don Osceola may have been the first Native American in Florida to die from COVID-19. Osceola was born on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and later joined the Miccosukee tribe. There, he worked as a police officer and in the housing department.

Mr. Osceola was a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart. He studied theology and architecture. He worked for the National Park Service in the Everglades National Park.

[Miami Herald]

Max Osceola Jr., 70, Hollywood Seminole Reservation

During his time on the Seminole Tribal Council, Max Osceola Jr. transformed Seminole Gaming and the Hard Rock brand into a global force. He governed on the council for more than two decades, during which the tribe bought Hard Rock International. He also worked with a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club. In 2017, Mr. Osceola was inducted into the Broward Education Foundation Hall of Fame.

[Miami Herald]

Donn Ross Osmon, 87, Sarasota

Donn Ross Osmon was a long-tenured employee of the 3M Company who once oversaw its sponsorship of the Winter Olympics.

Born during the Great Depression, he was left outside an orphanage in a basket. He later graduated from the University of North Dakota and served in the U.S. Army.

Mr. Osmon loved retirement, making a predictable routine in Florida filled with golf and books.

[Obituary]

Virginia M. Pahlman, 82, Royal Palm Beach

Virginia Pahlman enjoyed gardening, painting and cooking. Over the years, she worked in real estate and was a manager in a doctor’s office, among other clerical positions.

She was married three times and enjoyed 30 happy years with her third husband. “In her death, she requested nothing other than being back with her husband,” her family wrote.

[obituary]

Peter W. Pallot, 96, Miami

A former flight engineer during World War II, Peter Pallot became a salesman for Magliner hand trucks. His fascination for the mechanics of cars and planes continued throughout his life.

“He had many stories about his life, and he savored the chance to tell one or two,” his family wrote.

[Obituary]

Charles Patrinos, 100, Naples

Charles Patrinos was a World War II veteran who helped build the Twin Towers in New York “with his hands of gold,” his family wrote. A generous and friendly “gentleman,” he was always the life of the party.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Corey Pendergrass, 51, Lauderhill

A “gentle giant” who served as a patrol officer in the Lauderhill Police Department since 1997, Corey Pendergrass was known as a mentor who faced adversity with a hopeful outlook. “The many accolades received by members of the community speaks volumes to his character, which was beyond question,” the Lauderhill police chief told reporters.

He was a father of six. His son Corey Jr. has said he wants to follow his father’s path.

[NBC Miami, WPLG]

Charles “Charlie” Perdomo, 78, Bradenton

Charlie Perdomo taught in Hillsborough County for more than two decades and coached the 1993 Bloomingdale High School softball team to a state championship.

He played senior softball himself and also liked to hunt and fish. A Tampa Bay native, he graduated from Jefferson High School and attended the University of Tampa.

[Obituary]

Rodolfo “Rudy” Daniel Pereda, 59, Tallahassee

When he was a little boy, Rudy Pereda left Cuba with his family on a Freedom Flight.

He loved coffee shops, riding bicycles at the beach and Christmas. With a degree in computer science, Pereda worked for decades in Florida state agencies. He stayed busy at home plugging away at projects in his workshop.

[Obituary]

Norma R. Perez, 78, Miami

Norma Perez graduated top of her class in Cuba, then moved to New York “to escape communism,” her family wrote. She later moved to Florida and worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years.

She was a deeply religious woman who always sent her family and friend handmade cards for special occasions.

[obituary]

Fabian Pettiford, 34, Chattahoochee

Fabian Pettiford was a patient at Florida State Hospital’s mental health facility after a turbulent life spent in and out of institutions, from prison to hospitals. A judge in June ruled Mr. Pettiford mentally incompetent to stand trial, extending his time at the facility. He had faced a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

His uncle Walter Pettiford said: “It’s hurt me so bad how I lost him… I know people do wrong and right, but we’re human. If you cage them up, you should take care of them.”

[Ocala Star-Banner]

Al Phillips, 61, Lake Bradford

Al Phillips could seem intimidating at first, with his 6-foot-2 frame and booming voice, but strangers soon found that “he had the biggest heart in the world,” said his wife, Debby. He had soft spots for tie-dye, motorcycles and the Florida State Seminoles — whose games got him even louder than usual.

He was a gregarious mechanic when Debby met him, and when she was robbed soon after they started dating, he quietly bought her a new TV. Decades later, on Mother’s Day 2018, he surprised her with the new red convertible she’d always wanted. They would have celebrated 30 years of marriage next month.

[Tallahassee Democrat]

William “Bill” Rowan Phillips Sr., 76, Lake City

Bill Phillips’ children remember visiting the meat counter to see their daddy and get a slice of bologna. He was a butcher, a Navy veteran and a police officer. At one time, he owned a grocery store.

He had a “servant’s heart,” his family wrote, and once saved his friend’s life by performing CPR. As a volunteer at the Veteran’s Hospital, he also donated gallons of blood.

[Obituary]

James “Jim” Picciano, 88, Boca Raton

Jim Picciano was known to fool his audience, spinning jokes that up until the punchline sounded like a story. He was an ironworker, World War II history buff and baseball fan.

He and his wife got sick at the same time, but unlike her, he did not recover.

[Palm Beach Post]

John Duval Pollitzer, 73, Tallahassee

John Pollitzer’s family remembers him for his dry sense of humor and kindness to those in need.

He was a medic in the U.S. Coast Guard, then a member of the Beaufort County Emergency Management Services, where he worked as a shift supervisor for more than 30 years. He loved the South Carolina Gamecocks and “all things Beaufort,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Nina Popova, 97, St. Augustine

Nina Popova was born in Russia on the brink of the Soviet Union’s birth. She escaped the Bolsheviks in her home nation, then, after discovering her talent for ballet as a girl in Paris, ran from the Nazis. Her dancing took her across Europe, to Australia, to Cuba and to New York. Making a go of it in Houston, she hated when men wouldn’t doff their cowboy hats during a performance.

In 2018, a broken hip brought her to her daughter in Florida. Even at 95, in physical therapy, she could still show off those old ballet poses.

[New York Times]

Elbert Lee “Bully” Poppell, 99, Havana

Bully Poppell was a World War II veteran who later worked for the Florida Department of Transportation and managed the mailroom for the governor’s office. A Boy Scout when he was young, he grew up to be deeply involved with the organization and was proud of his four-generation Boy Scout family, down to his great-grandsons. The Havana Boy Scout Camp was even re-named Camp Bully Poppell in his honor in 1991.

Mr. Poppell was a lover of flowers and found “peace” when riding his tractor, his family said. He was known for his green thumb: “If he had a spot to plant it, it would grow!!” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Neil Powell, 93, Orlando

Neil Powell had a way of bringing people together, especially fellow dentists.

He led multiple professional societies in his career and helped bring fluoride to tap water in Orlando. When he stopped working on teeth, he formed a club, R.O.D.E.O, or Retired Old Dentists Eating Out. Mr. Powell was a hunter and played drums in a jazz band that was made up of — you guessed it — a bunch of dentists.

[Orlando Sentinel]

George Prastitis, 87, Ormond Beach

George Prastitis had an incredible store of knowledge and loved trivia, jeopardy and debate. An avid DIYer, he knew how to fix anything and also was a talented artist with oils and pens.

He spent his career at Otis Elevator and was a devoted father who coached his children’s baseball and softball teams. His favorite pastime was golf.

[obituary]

Ethel Lynn Radford, 92, Pensacola

When Ethel Radford was in high school during World War II, she worked in a meat processing plant for soldiers’ rations and used part of her earnings to pay for tap dancing lessons.

She raised four children in Pensacola with her husband, a WWII veteran and retired career Navy man. She nurtured an intense interest in environmental issues and politics and was proud of having marched for the Equal Rights Amendment in Tallahassee in 1974.

After her husband died in 1984, she revived her love for tap dancing and performed with “'seasoned dancers’ like herself, who still had what it takes," her family wrote.

[obituary]

Karen Ruth Rapaport, 62, Boca Raton

Karen Rapaport was a psychologist who loved music and art. She had a beautiful singing voice and also wrote songs for guitar. She spent much of her retirement painting and drawing. Her beloved dog, Isabel, was often the model.

“Most of all, Karen loved to spend time with her family and friends,” wrote her family. “She was always the happiest when she was around those that she loved.”

She died after a brief struggle with gliobastoma, followed by a COVID-19 infection.

[Obituary]

Kenny Reagan, 56, Hollywood

A former Marine, Kenny Reagan was a dependable guy. You could count on him if you were his patient at Memorial Regional Hospital, seeking respiratory therapy. You could tell him your fears and stories, and he might even make you his friend. And if you were his baseball player, a junior varsity Mustang at McArthur High (his alma mater), you looked up to his caring, mild-mannered mentorship.

He looked out for his community deeply. He helped overhaul the baseball program with his attention and hustle, seeking sponsorships, parental involvement, repairs and new investments — work that some believe helped the varsity team make it to states in 2019. His son was always by his side.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Margaret “Peg” Reilly, 96, Eustis

With her skill for sewing, Peg Reilly created beautiful custom wedding gowns. She worked a career in human resources at JCPenney.

To her youngest relatives, she was “Grandma Peg.” Born in Toronto, her family remembers how she volunteered during her life and favored St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate causes.

[Obituary]

Lt. Aldemar “Al” Rengifo Jr., 47, North Lauderdale

A 20-year veteran of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Al Renfigo had recently started working with the Youth and Neighborhood Services Bureau. In 2012, he was detective of the year.

Colleagues called him a true professional, deeply devoted and a great communicator. In the most complex and stressful moments, he stayed calm, they said. He was a father and husband.

[CNN]

Richard Retblatt, 74, Boca Raton

Richard Retblatt had no regrets.

He broke into dance spontaneously and was, his son said, a “fashionista.” After he and his wife, Mindy, retired to Florida four years ago, he took up smoking cigars and put together a 42-person golfing group he dubbed the “Good Fellas.”

Just before he died, he told his wife and kids to have a drink in his honor.

“He was an acquired taste,” Mindy said. “He came on strong, but he had a heart of gold.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Lorna Retener, 60, Miami

After scoring in the top 10 percent on the national nursing exam in the Philippines, Lorna Retener was offered the chance to come to the United States and work. Along with working as a nurse, she taught nursing students and inspired them to get higher degrees than they thought they could.

Family remembers her patience and love of Marvel movies.

[Miami Herald]

Judge Roberson III, 80, Pompano Beach

From an early age, Judge Roberson knew he wanted to spread the word of God. He was only 9 years old when he began writing sermons, which he was sometimes allowed to read during church services.

He served in the U.S. Army, then ran a masonry company, but his “main goal in life was to encourage men and women to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior,” his family wrote.

In Florida, he was a pastor with the Faith Center Ministries in Sunrise and Fort Lauderdale and conducted many revivals.

[obituary]

Robert “Bobby” Robins, 76, Miami

Bobby Robins had a close-knit family and loved cheering on all his grand-nephews at lacrosse, football and basketball games. He also was known as “Uncle Bobby” as a volunteer working with foster youth through Voices For Children. He loved animals, including his rescue dog of 15 years, China.

“One of Bobby’s last wishes was that everyone takes this deadly virus seriously and stays safe,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Jimmy Robinson, 55, Miami

Jimmy Robinson was a big sports fan. He rooted for the Miami Heat and Hurricanes, and was a Dallas Cowboys stalwart.

He worked for nearly three decades for Miami-Dade Transit, rising to the rank of supervisor.

[local10]

Ana Rodriguez, 76, Orlando

Ana Rodriguez
Ana Rodriguez [ Courtesy of family ]

Ana Rodriguez, who was from Puerto Rico before moving to Florida, would feed everyone who came by. Her family members said Rodriguez cared more about other people than she did herself and loved fully.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Luis Soto Rodriguez, 73, Orlando

Whether Luis Soto Rodriguez was traveling for a weekend or moving, he always packed his dominoes. As he played, he’d talk about his life growing up in Puerto Rico and New York.

For many years, Mr. Soto Rodriguez worked as a truck driver. After retiring, he drove for Uber, which is how his family suspects he came into contact with the coronavirus.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Wayne and Lauri Rogers, 65 and 61, Florida Panhandle

Wayne Rogers, the first state prison officer to die of the coronavirus, would light up when he talked about work, his daughter said. He worked as an officer in Florida’s prison system for 30 years.

He and his wife, Lauri, died an hour apart in late July. The two liked to ride on Wayne’s motorcycle together. Their daughter said the couple lived simply and down-to-earth.

[Tampa Bay Times]

Alberto Rojas, 52, Lake Worth

The eighth child in a family of nine, Alberto Rojas grew up in Mexico learning to harvest corn and beans and hanging around big tractors with his uncles. He loved a good party, and soon met the love of his life, Juana Torres. Once married, he began traveling to the U.S. for work, until the family moved to Florida for a new life.

Rojas worked in agriculture, readying land for crops, and but was happiest on a tractor. Father of three daughters, and a grandfather, too, he was lucky in love. In 2013, after 25 years, he and Juana renewed their vows. Just this year, he was offered a better job, with the chance to do more of what he loved, operating heavy machinery.

[Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, obituary]

Richard “Rick” Ross, 66, Boynton Beach

In a Boynton Beach Police Department tribute, Rick Ross was referred to as “Sensei.” That’s because Mr. Ross, a longtime officer, also was a longtime karate instructor.

He once described to The Palm Beach Post how in that position he taught “a way to function.”

Mr. Ross raced boats and rode motorcycles. He led an outboard engine company and was dean of discipline at a school, where officials wrote that he always worked “with love and compassion.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Ron Ross, 87, Boca Raton

Ron Ross was a fighter and a writer. A member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, he was doing sit-ups and push-ups, 50 a day, only a few months before he died, his daughter said.

His family knew him as “the biggest mush,” an adoring grandfather who was drafting a screenplay for his book, The Tomato Can.

[Palm Beach Post, South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Anabelle Hernandez Rudolph, 79, Jacksonville

Anabelle Hernandez Rudolph loved to travel, leaving her native Costa Rica to study in Vermont and Florence, Italy. At home, she was known for throwing holiday bashes for friends.

She served as a translator in U.S. District Court — having command of several languages — and later was a nanny. Ms. Rudolph once met Pope John Paul II, one of her greatest memories.

[Obituary]

Wayne Robert Ryder, 76, Hollywood

Wayne Ryder was a Harley enthusiast, a former member of the original Crazy Horse MC. Besides his motorcycle, he loved boating, kayaking, hunting and fishing — and more than anything, his family.

He attended St. Thomas More Catholic Church and was a lifelong member of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 105/7.

[obituary]

Meryl Salkin, 84, Lantana

They fell for each other late in life, but the easy romance was full of dinners and moonlit nights, making Meryl Salkin and Ken Lassiter feel like teenagers, he said. She loved dachshunds and, according to her son, being the center of attention.

She held a master’s degree in psychology and once ran a hearing aid shop. Her sister remembers how they used to compete as kids, except, of course, when they united to defy their parents.

[Palm Beach Post]

Rodrick “Rod” Samuels, 49, Orlando

Rodrick Samuels was intensely protective of those he loved. Relatives thought of him as a “teddy bear.”

His brother remembers how Mr. Samuels fought for him when they were young. Lately, he was a proud grandpa.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Frederick Sands, 86; Marcy Friedman, 94; and Beverly Glass, 84; Hollywood and Aventura

The trio of retirees met with five others to play poker five nights a week at a condo north of Miami. The group formed a tight bond, going on cruises together and trading stories about grandchildren.

All eight members came down with the virus. Mr. Sands, Ms. Friedman and Ms. Glass died within five days of each other.

Ms. Friedman helped organize the games and hosted them at her condo in Aventura. Mr. Sands and Ms. Glass were partners of 20 years who lived in Hollywood, south of Fort Lauderdale.

[Sun-Sentinel]

Junior Santana, 36, West Palm Beach

Weeks before his death, Junior Santana traveled with three friends for a weekend getaway, hitting up bars, clubs and restaurants across Central Florida.

Santana worked as an assistant manager of a gentleman’s club and restaurant. His friend said he was a legend in the downtown area and the entertainment industry.

Last year, Santana went back to the Dominican Republic to take care of his aging mother and made sure to spoil his sister’s children.

[Palm Beach Post]

Enrique Guillermo Sauer, 77, Orlando

Enrique Sauer’s parents were European immigrants to Argentina. He grew up to emigrate himself, to the United States, where he studied physics at Brown University and worked in the aerospace industry. He spent 40 years working for Lockheed Martin in Orlando.

His family remembers him as “a loving husband and father and for being a curious intellectual with a passion for science and Argentine culture.”

[obituary]

Dr. Eugene “Gene” J. Sayfie, 85, Miami

Dr. Gene Sayfie
Dr. Gene Sayfie [ COURTESY SAYFIE FAMILY, via the Miami Herald ]

A renowned cardiologist and internist at many medical institutions, decorated with awards and recognition, Dr. Eugene Sayfie kept it genuine. He gave patients his cellphone number, and even saw some in their homes.

Patients would stop his family members on the street to rave about his care, how he never simply focused on an ailment, but on the whole person’s well-being. He liked to quote Khalil Gibran: “Work is love made visible.”

Born in Virginia to Lebanese immigrants, Dr. Sayfie made his way up in the medical world, while also making time for his Miami Dolphins, Sunday church and dinners with family (where his four daughters raced to be the one to sit beside him). He would leave the hospital, speed to his daughters’ games and other events, and head right back. He sought most of all to enjoy life and make a difference. His daughters, at his hospital bedside, told him he had done both.

[Miami Herald, obituary]

Seymour Schreck, 86, Miami Beach

Even in his 60s, Seymour Shreck would come home by curfew so his elderly mother wouldn’t worry. As her only child, he lived to care for her. Though he never had children of his own, he always carried toys when going to events where he knew there’d be kids. He’d even surprise some with game tickets and give them his sports memorabilia.

He was a trivia whiz when it came to baseball, football and basketball, and helped found an early Orthodox Jewish congregation in South Florida.

[Miami Herald]

Rosemary Sell, 80, Jupiter

A true New Yorker — one who, like so many New Yorkers, spent her later years in Florida — Rosemary Sell was a lifelong nurse. From nursing school in Greenwich Village to West Berlin, where she was a nurse for the British army, she kept her license active even after retiring to Florida. In February this year, just before schools would close, she accepted a fill-in nurse position with New York City public schools.

She loved bargain-hunting, gift-giving, coaching baseball, telling stories and making new friends who could keep up with her energy. She had five boys and lived to travel the world. Next up was the Taj Mahal.

[The Guardian, obituary]

Robert Shackelford, 61, Sarasota

A Sarasota High School social studies teacher of 27 years, Robert Shackelford was a towering figure — literally, at 6′4″ — who bore more than one kind of resemblance to Richard Gere. With a deep voice and worldly sophistication, “Coach Shack” held students to a notoriously high standard. They knew to show up not one second late. They anticipated lively, Socratic-style lectures from a history lover who spent vacations at Civil War battlegrounds. And they scored so well on assessments that they were among the highest in the state.

A former football player, Mr. Shackleford always sent his daughter a postcard when the team he coached was traveling. He ate healthy, but loved Peanut M&Ms. He considered himself a patriot. He sacrificed sleep if it meant helping his brother, who has disabilities. He was one year from retirement.

[The Lakeland Ledger]

Margaret Shaw and Jimmy Shaw, 79 and 80, Miami

Growing up in a rural Georgia town, Margaret and Jimmy Shaw married secretly as teenagers — and it lasted nearly 63 years, until they died within 24 hours of each other.

Their upbringing stayed with them. Sharing meals in Miami, Jimmy Shaw waited until his wife and kids had had their fill, then would shovel whatever scraps they’d left onto his plate. They had hard jobs, pinched pennies, faced significant racism in segregated Miami and struggled with health problems, including cancer, diabetes and alcoholism, but their home was a haven: fresh biscuits, grits, bacon, gospel music and Margaret’s constant singing. The Miami Times, a Black South Florida newspaper, covered their 50th anniversary in 2007. Margaret said the marker of a good marriage was that “you learn from your mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes.”

[New York Times]

Sumner “Charlie” Shaw, 86, Boca Raton

Charlie Shaw hailed from Massachusetts, where he built a legacy as a successful real estate developer in the Boston suburbs.

He was an avid outdoorsman and loved fishing, sports and skiing. “He was known for his engaging smile, generosity and wicked sense of humor,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Tom Sheehan, 68, Bradenton

A prankster and proud Italian-American family man, Tom Sheehan loved the chance to travel more in his retirement years. But it was a cruise bound for Venice that got him sick. His family remembers a stubborn man with a wicked grin, a party-planner who counted the weeks until St. Patrick’s Day. They remember a grandfather of 11 who ended every conversation — texts, too, — with “I love you.”

[Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Dr. Steven Silverman, 71, West Palm Beach

His bedside manner was everything you wanted in a doctor: Kind, easy to laugh, with plenty to talk about, like his love of taking photos on great adventures. He didn’t rush patients. And nothing was off-limits.

Dr. Steven Silverman, a longtime West Palm Beach OB-GYN, was a runner and cyclist, an easygoing guy with serious medical chops at his practice, Comprehensive Women’s Medical Center. He delivered thousands of babies in his four-decade career. He was a husband and father who loved Maroon 5 and devilishly taught his grandson lyrics too advanced for his tender age. He grew orchids. His wife was his best friend.

[Palm Beach Post]

Billy Leroy “Bill” Smith, 84, Lake Wales

Bill Smith’s work will last across Florida. As an electrical contractor, he worked on the NASA Apollo program and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. He later opened his own company, B.L. Smith Electric, which helped construct the Lakeland Square Mall.

His business will continue through his son — one of his five children.

[Legacy.com]

Troy Sneed, 52, Fleming Island

Troy Sneed grew up thinking he’d play football, but by the time he got to Florida A&M University in the 1980s, his knees were banged up, and he was looking for a new passion. That’s when he found the school’s choir, where he began singing, playing piano and writing songs — and where he met his wife, Emily.

From there, he became a minister of music and entered the industry, earning a Grammy nomination in 1999 for his production work on the Youth for Christ album Higher. He later found success as a solo artist, with his records reaching as high as No. 2 on the Billboard gospel charts. Even as peers gravitated toward the musical hubs of Atlanta and New York, he elected to stay in the Jacksonville area, where he ran his imprint Emtro Gospel Records and lived with Emily and their four children.

[Florida Times-Union]

Lakeisha Y. Snipes, 42, Miami

A bus driver with high blood pressure, Lakeisha Snipes knew she was high-risk for COVID-19. She tried to stay home, taking a two-month leave of absence.

But when Miami-Dade Transit told her to come back in June, she complied, though she didn’t feel protected. No hazard pay or life insurance, and not enough safety measures, she told family. They believe she got the virus on the job.

“She wanted to secure her job. She bought a house not too long ago, she had responsibilities. So she put her health aside to do her duty,” a cousin said.

[NBC Miami, Local 10]

Soeur Som, 67, Pensacola

Soeur Som fled the brutal Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia with his pregnant wife in 1979 and eventually made it to the United States through a refugee program. He arrived in 1982, “with only the clothes on his back and pictures of the memories and family left behind,” his family wrote.

Despite enormous hardship, Som was gentle, generous and selfless, his family said. In his 20s, he spent six years in a Buddhist monastery. In the U.S., he “sacrificed his entire lifetime to his children, so that they had the opportunity to be successful,” his family wrote.

[obituary]

Juan Carlos Sosa, 57, Orlando

A custodian at Celebration K-8, Juan Carlos Sosa flashed a toothy smile when students arrived in the mornings. He was known to share snacks and, if a parent couldn’t make it, drive kids to baseball practice. His family thinks he contracted the virus at the school, where he celebrated his birthday.

He grew up in Guatemala and toiled, alongside family, to make it to the U.S. He and his sister were particularly close: Like Pimpinela, she said, the brother and sister Argentinian singers. In the U.S., Sosa belted songs in the car with his 17-year-old daughter, Jasmin.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Roy L Spurlin Sr., 75, Panama City Beach

Roy Spurlin could cook. His family loved his cornbread and biscuits. His sour cream pound cake was great, too.

Spurlin worked for AIG Insurance and often lent a hand to friends on do-it-yourself carpentry. Born in Georgia, he was a devout Christian who also spent time in Alabama.

[Obituary]

Dolores Serkes Stein, 91, Jupiter

Born in West Orange, N.J., Dolores Stein was an executive secretary for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark and later worked as a bookkeeper.

Ms. Stein moved to Lake Worth, Fla., in 1984 and served as president of Womens’ Equity of Poinciana Country Club. She loved dogs, especially her dog, Buttons.

“She has always been such a comfort, always made me laugh, and smile, even when I didn’t want to, she just had that way about her, “ her granddaughter-in-law wrote. “She was absolutely the ‘glue’ of our family.”

[Facebook, obituary]

Jason Stein, 46, Coral Springs

As the athletic director at J.P. Taravella High School, Jason Stein was a father figure to the students he worked with. Other teachers, including the head football coach, said Mr. Stein taught them how to be better leaders and parents.

[Miami Herald]

Donald L. “Don” Stuart, 89, Sarasota

Don Stuart was an Army veteran who served during the Korean War and later became a business owner.

He was born in New York City and attended Lehigh University.

[Obituary]

Ronald David Sweeting, 56, Key West

Ronald David Sweeting
Ronald David Sweeting [ Miami Herald ]

A Key West native, Ronald David Sweeting, known as Dave, was one of the first COVID-19 deaths to rock the small town.

Mr. Sweeting was a Miami Marlins season ticket holder who also loved to play baseball. When his knees gave out, Mr. Sweeting became an umpire, just to stay in the game.

He left behind his parents, two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.

[Miami Herald]

Peter Szabo, 67, Hypoluxo

An engineer from Hungary, Peter Szabo worked on the Soviet Union’s space program before he defected. His wife said American officials helped them flee to Germany.

They settled in Florida, she said, where Mr. Szabo became an electrical engineering professor at Florida Atlantic University.

[Palm Beach Post]

James Edward Thomas Jr., 70, Ponte Vedra Beach

James Thomas Jr. was a Southern gentleman “who made those around him feel like they were part of something bigger than themselves,” his family said.

During a 35-year career spent in the financial services industry, between Tennessee and his native Georgia, he gave back to the community through volunteering, charity and mentorship. His hobbies included fast boats, antique wooden boats, golf, croquet, reading, writing and traveling.

[obituary]

Nikima Thompson, 41, Boca Raton, and Geraldine Wilson, 78, Miami Gardens

Nikima Thompson was bold, bubbly and an attentive mother to her four children, ages 14 to 22. She loved traveling, music and cosmetology.

She also loved her job as a 911 dispatcher for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. The office stayed open as the coronavirus spread and had lax safety standards, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Dozens of her colleagues contracted COVID-19.

Weeks later, her mother, Geraldine Wilson, also died of the virus.

[obituary, obituary, Sun-Sentinel]

Lois Zug Thomson, 95, Naples

Lois Thomson spent most of her life in Chester County, Pa., where she grew up on a farm with 13 siblings and later raised her children.

She enjoyed country music and square dancing and was well-known for her blueberry and shoo-fly pies, her family wrote. People called her the “gravy lady” at the annual community Thanksgiving dinner where she volunteered, in honor of her tasty recipe.

[obituary]

Leona and Selwyn Thorner, 85 and 89, Delray Beach

Married for 65 years, Leona and Selwyn Thorner died a few days apart. She was a stay-at-home mom; he was a former Army sergeant who served in the Korean War.

They were the leaders of their family, Selwyn’s brother said, the “glue” that held everyone together.

[Palm Beach Post]

Gary Tibbetts, 66, Ellenton

A longtime staff member on U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s team, Gary Tibbetts was the “consummate professional,” the Sarasota Republican said in a statement. Mr. Tibbetts joined Buchanan’s staff in 2011, prized for his background in law enforcement, which helped in building relationships with local agencies. He had spent 26 years as a sergeant at the Manchester Police Department in New Hampshire, ranging from juvenile services to the SWAT unit.

“I will never forget his uplifting spirit, sense of humor and sheer joy helping others,” Buchanan said.

[Sarasota Herald-Tribune, The Hill]

Stephen R. Tranovich, 92, Bonita Springs

A U.S. Navy veteran who liked to boat and golf, Stephen R. Tranovich founded a trucking company and eventually settled in Florida.

He was born in Pennsylvania and went to college at Drexel University. He liked vacationing at a lake house in the Poconos.

[Obituary]

Richard “Dick” G. Tutwiler and Myra Tutwiler, 89 and 77, Naples

For 41 years, Dick and Myra Tutwiler were best friends.

They died about a month apart, him on July 18 and she on Aug. 13.

Dick was a Vietnam War veteran with a Purple Heart and an entrepreneur who built a financial recruiting agency that sprouted offices along the Atlantic coast. Myra grew up on a Tennessee dairy farm, learning to tend to animals, bail hay and can vegetables. She became a radiologic technologist — one of the people who run scans to diagnose injuries — and a leader in local women’s clubs.

They played tennis and cards and were founding golf members of the Wyndemere Country Club. Dick could make a “mean sandwich,” their family recalled, and Myra read bedtime stories.

[Obituary, Obituary]

Sgt. Eric Twisdale, 49, Jacksonville

He started out as a bailiff for the city of Jacksonville in the 1990s, then became a corrections officer. Eric Twisdale joined the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in 1998, moving up from the patrol division to become a detective and then a sergeant. Recently, he was overseeing the Crime Scene Unit, also serving on the honor guard and dive team.

In 2014, he saved someone from drowning. In 2015, he was named deputy of the year. Officials said he “earned a reputation for being courageous and having a huge heart.” A dad of three, his family says he was the kind of guy who’d come fix your porch light at midnight. He liked napping in his hunting blind.

[Officer.com, obituary]

Chad Joseph Tyler, 45, Daytona Beach

Chad Tyler had a contagious laugh and a smile that could light up the room, his family wrote. He found purpose in helping people — especially with their technology needs as an Apple Master at Best Buy.

He loved Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Florida Gators and animals. Recently, he had been volunteering with Southeast Volusia Humane Society to help cats and dogs find homes.

[obituary]

Jorge A. Vallejo, 89, and Carlos Francisco Vallejo, 57, Hialeah

Two doctors, a father and his son, both died of the coronavirus weeks apart. When Jorge Vallejo fled Fidel Castro’s Cuban regime and arrived in Florida, he became an important doctor for the Cuban American community. He also once delivered what was then the smallest baby born in the United States, a girl who weighed less than 1 pound. His son, Carlos Francisco Vallejo, was working and treating coronavirus patients before he got sick.

[Miami Herald]

Nick Van Glahn, 29, Parrish

Softspoken in person, Nicholas Van Glahn found comfort and confidence in online gaming and YouTube, where friends knew him as SYBE. He played World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Vexx, having been drawn to computers and coding from a young age. He worked in the tech world and stayed close to his mother, whose kindness he sought to emulate. She had mostly raised him on her own, until she later remarried. For a while, money was tight. She told the Bradenton Herald about coming home from work one day when her son was 10 and finding the babysitter gone. He’d fired her. “We needed the money,” she said.

After Van Glahn died, the family started getting calls from his gaming circle, who told them about how he’d been a mentor and friend.

[Bradenton Herald, obituary]

Teodoro Viteri, 55, West Palm Beach

Teodoro Viteri’s philosophy was “what’s eaten and drunk nobody takes away from you.” Along with being a dedicated programmer, Mr. Viteri loved golf, traveling, tango and a good meal. He had traveled to 20 countries and visited every Caribbean island. His family hopes to scatter his ashes in the ocean — either in the United States or in his home country, Ecuador.

[Miami Herald]

Francesco “Frank” Vitiello and Rosa Vitiello, 83 and 82, Naples

Both born in Italy, Frank and Rosa Vitiello immigrated to the United States on the same boat in 1962.

They didn’t meet until the next year in night school. They fell in love and quickly married.

“Frank and Rosa were absolutely devoted to their family, whom they put through college, helped begin careers, taught how to play and sing music and served the greatest Italian food,” relatives wrote.

The Vitiellos settled in Naples, where he ran a barber shop, and she worked in the cafeteria of an elementary school. They died two days apart.

[Obituary]

Grady B. Walker, 64, Panama City

Grady Walker could pick a banjo or guitar and cheered on the Alabama football team.

A structural welder, he doted on his grandchildren, fished and hunted.

[Obituary]

Clarence Whitfield Wash, 91, Orlando

Born in West Virginia, Clarence Whitfield Wash worked for 30 years at the Kennedy Space Center.

He lived for a while on Merritt Island with his wife, whom he had met in Bermuda.

[Obituary]

Mary Carlene Waters, 85, Hampton

She liked to cook, read and write poems, but above all else, came her family and Jesus Christ. Mary Carlene Waters was a devoted member of Starke’s River Church of Life, and, when she wasn’t busy with church activities, taught a Bible class at a local nursing home.

[District 8 medical examiner, obituary]

Philip D. Weinstock, 57, Lauderhill

Creativity governed Philip Weinstock’s time in school. He studied psychology at the University of Florida and made poetry, short stories and photographs.

Above all else, his family recalled, Weinstock was honest.

Music brought him joy, with Bob Dylan and The Doors his favorite. He struggled with mental illness, relatives wrote, “but mental illness did not change his heart.”

[Obituary]

Masela Diana Westerman, 59, Delray Beach

Masela Westerman joined her daughter and brother in Florida after Hurricane Maria ravaged her home in Nevis in 2017. She suffered from lupus and diabetes and was having trouble getting her medications.

“You were the only person I spoke to every day, multiple times a day,” one of her daughters wrote on her obituary page. “You were a mother any child could hope for.”

[Palm Beach Post, obituary]

James “Jimmy” White, 27, Lake City

Jimmy White, a registered nurse at the Lake City VA Medical Center, tended to patients with COVID-19. Later, after a positive result and increasing pain, he left his self-isolation and drove himself to the hospital.

His family loved his quick wit and soft heart. When he wasn’t with patients, he played video games and rewatched Star Wars. He was close with his sister, Allison, and doted on his cat, Tiberius. He was born in Chicago and rooted for “Da Bears,” the Cubs and Blackhawks, and loved any chance he got to go back.

[News4Jax, obituary]

Keith White, 55, Key West

Keith White
Keith White [ Miami Herald ]

Keith White embodied the Key West motto of “One Human Family,” friends said. White worked for years as a chef and helped struggling addicts.

“He no doubt saved my life,” William Hall said of Mr. White. “I used to introduce him as my hero.”

[WPLG Local 10, Miami Herald]

George M. “Mell” Williams, 89, Stuart

To his grandchildren, Mell Williams was known as “Yampa.” He and his wife hosted an elaborate Camp Yampa Yamma, bringing in 12 of the kids for a week each year.

They swam, made trips on a boat, handed out awards.

Williams was a transplant surgeon who led numerous medical and professional organizations, including the United Network of Organ Sharing. His family recalled how “his deepest commitments were to the care and well-being of his patients.”

[Obituary]

Lakisha Willis White, 45, Orlando

After surviving a car crash, Lakisha Willis White struggled with lung damage she sustained in the wreck. She became ill after traveling to Detroit to see family.

In healthier times, Ms. White enjoyed taking care of loved ones. She lived with four of her dozen grandchildren. She also liked to go to the beach and cook. Friends especially enjoyed her deviled eggs.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Gene Wilkinson, 79, Altamonte Springs

As part of the Beach Boppers, Gene Wilkinson would swing dance and jitterbug with other Central Florida residents.

Mr. Wilkinson also loved sports, especially the Chicago Bears. He liked to take ski trips and play volleyball, along with cornhole. Mr. Wilkinson, an Air Force veteran, helped raise his nephew after Mr. Wilkinson’s brother died in a car accident months before his son was born.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Daequan Wimberly, 11, Miami

Daequan Wimberly joined a pastor’s family at 18 months old, his kidneys already failing. Years later, he was adopted. The 11-year-old was always a smiling presence at the Miami church, but the dialysis he needed took a toll on his body.

Daequan was the third minor in the state to die from the coronavirus and the youngest. When he died, his adopted father couldn’t be with him — as he was also in the hospital with COVID-19.

[The Miami Herald]

Helen Jones Woods, 96, Sarasota

To make it as a female, African-American jazz musician in the 1930s and 1940s Jim Crow South took a certain kind of determination. After a tumultuous childhood, Helen Jones Woods played trombone in the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female, multiracial ensemble. In a twist, sometimes that meant its white members wore blackface to ward off trouble in the South. The group took off, playing major gigs at the Apollo Theater in New York and Wrigley Field in Chicago and sharing bills with Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

After a 1949 split, burned out and broke, Ms. Woods tried entering the classical world by passing as white. Her dad picked her up after her first show with the Omaha Symphony, blowing her cover. Fired, she gave up playing that day. She turned to nursing and social work.

[New York Times]

Debra “Debbie” Lynn Woody, 57, Lake Wales

Debbie Woody greeted people with a smile. Her family remembers her as a “protector” and “living example of the Golden Rule.” She worked as an employee services manager at a nursing and rehabilitation center.

On the sidelines of her childrens' sports games and in the stands at their recitals, she was always vocal and supportive. She kept them focused and organized for school.

Her five children were with her when she died.

[Obituary]

Desi’rae “Desi” Wysocki-McIntosh, 26, Fort Walton Beach

Uncomplaining, always on time, Desi Wysocki-McIntosh was often seen working the counter at her local Tom Thumb. Living in a motel with her husband, she was saving for a place of their own. She worked late hours and wasn’t one to call out sick — even when she probably should’ve.

When a frequent customer saw Wysocki-McIntosh coughing and struggling to breathe in July, not long before she died, the customer told her: “It breaks my heart that you felt like you had to come in today.”

She loved animals. She was a quiet person. She enjoyed holding her husband’s hand.

[Palm Beach Post]

Fay Jenkins Yount, 77, Grand Ridge

Raised in Graceville, Fay Jenkins Yount worked for LeHigh Furniture and UniMac.

She was married 35 years and raised three children, who remember how she was happy to work outside and always around to help.

[Obituary]

Rosa Zamanillo, 90, Miami

Rosa Zamanillo, pictured here with her son, Jorge Zamanillo.
Rosa Zamanillo, pictured here with her son, Jorge Zamanillo. [ Miami Herald ]

Dementia took away many of Rosa Zamanillo’s memories, but she never forgot the Cuban ballads of her childhood.

She was known for singing the tunes from her room at the Residential Plaza assisted living facility in Miami, where she lived for the last eight years.

She hadn’t left the facility in three years. But COVID-19 still got her.

[Miami Herald]

Anne Zuckerberg, 94, West Palm Beach

Anne Zuckerberg’s homemaker life took a turn in 1958 when she defied her husband and placed an ad in her local New Jersey paper: “Confused in choosing fabrics? Think you can’t afford a decorator? Call me.” In time, her reputation as an interior designer led her to the penthouses and lobbies of New York and its wealthy art-world celebrities. She was aggressive in making herself known and tasteful in her work.

After three decades, she craved more than antiques, so she took to world travel, painting (even landing a solo exhibition in 2015) and attending legendary Palm Beach parties. As she neared 95, she was living solo and going strong, dancing at her grandson’s wedding.

“She thought she was Marie Antoinette reincarnated,” said her daughter Elish Kodish. “She was just a really independent spirit ahead of her time.”

[Palm Beach Post]

Gerald “Gerry” Zuckerman, 80, West Palm Beach

Gerry Zuckerman, an Army veteran and businessman, divided his time between Schenectady, N.Y., (where he could have been elected mayor, one of his daughters says) and West Palm Beach. So charismatic he won a sheriff’s badge, so committed to justice he took in an émigré and paid other peoples’ rent (with a complimentary cigar, to lend them dignity), he made a loud impression. Literally — he celebrated his 80th birthday by belting Sunrise, Sunset.

“He was just in his glory,” said daughter Sarah Ovadia. “He was smiling, alive and smiling, and then he was dead.”

At the end, his family asked a nurse to lift the phone while his three daughters played that tune one last time.

[Palm Beach Post]

Others we’ve lost

The coronavirus has killed many Floridians who have been named publicly but whose lives haven’t been described in detail. We wanted to acknowledge them here. But if you can tell us more about anyone listed, please fill out the form below.

Jose Antonio Sapon Alvarez, 35, Jupiter. He worked in landscaping and played keeper on the soccer pitch. [Palm Beach Post]

Claribel Cardenas-Gamboa, 33, Belle Glade. A mother. [Palm Beach Post]

Angela Chavers, 44, Palm Beach. A Palm Beach sheriff’s deputy, she put in 18 years at the agency, working in inmate management and corrections. She raised a son and niece. [NBC Miami]

Bernie Dukes, 73, Pembroke Pines. He was president of the Miami Tri-County Senate bowling group. [Sun-Sentinel]

Bayro Vazquez Escobar, 30. He was a landscaper with a wife and children. [Palm Beach Post]

Féquière Espérant, 65, Fort Lauderdale. An assistant pastor at Renaissance Evangelique Baptiste Tabernacle, he likely contracted the virus there. [Miami Herald]

Dieumene Etienne, 94, Miami. Dieumene Etienne, a Haitian woman, was the first documented victim of COVID-19 in Miami-Dade County. [Miami Herald]

Cody Jones, 27, Largo. He was sweet and shy, family said. [Pinellas-Pasco medical examiner, Grasso Funeral Memorial]

Pierre Martin, 69, Miami. He was an architect who took the virus seriously, only venturing out to Costco when he had to. He was part of the city’s Haitian-American community. [Miami Herald]

Alex Montaner, 69, Miami. He was born in Cuba and is survived by his partner, son, daughter, grandson and brothers. [Obituary]

Estelia Perez, 16, Homestead. She leaves her family, including her parents and two brothers. [Local10, Palm Beach Post]

Robert and Alice Pollock, both 68, Boynton Beach. They were dedicated to their church, St. John Missionary Baptist. [Sun-Sentinel]

Frank Schaeman, 80, Delray Beach. Born and raised in North Carolina, he was “the epitome of a Southern gentleman,” his daughter said. [Sun-Sentinel]

Janet Schloss, 82, North Miami. She graduated from Ohio State University in 1959. [Obituary]

Julie St. Preux, 43, Hialeah. A Haitian-American nurse practitioner, she had just had heart surgery in February and returned to work at a nursing home before she contracted the virus. [Miami Herald]

Todd E. Thralls, 68, Orlando. He was from West Virginia and lived in Central Florida for many years. [Obituary]

Elfriede H. von Holtz, 96, Fort Lauderdale. She was a steadfast supporter of her neighborhood, Melrose Park. [Sun-Sentinel]

Dennard Washington, 39, Pembroke Pines. He was a senior state administrator for Mothers Against Drunk Driving Florida. [Sun-Sentinel]

Ethel Wright, 66, Fort Lauderdale. She worked for Morrison’s Cafeteria for two decades and was married to her husband for 43 years. [Sun-Sentinel]

Help us tell more stories.

Did you lose a loved one to coronavirus? Please tell us about them by filling out this form.

Times staff writer Chris O’Donnell and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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