A couple of brothers from Queens, one a retired FDNY captain, shared a lifelong bond and died of the coronavirus less than two weeks apart.
Nicholas and Ralph Gismondi were “great family men” who were so loved that neighbors posted banners praising them when they succumbed to the pandemic, CNN said in a report Sunday.
Ralph Gismondi, 68, had retired from firefighters with the rank of captain and was among the first FDNY members to respond to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the network said.
He was working as a flight attendant for JetBlue airlines when he had cough, fever and shortness of breath on March 17.
Two days later, he and his wife Ann ̵
He died of coronavirus complications on April 5.
“I couldn’t arrange a funeral for him,” Ann Gismondi told CNN. “I didn’t, you know, that closure. It was just a scary nightmare. “
Nicholas Gismondi, 65, did not know of his older brother’s death until he himself was hospitalized with the virus.
Known to friends as “Poppi”, Nicholas Gismondi was an outstanding baseball player at Monsignor McClancy High School before studying accounting.
His son, Christopher, told the outlet that his father was “someone who always wanted to turn the lemons of life into lemonade.”
Nicholas moved to Westfield, NJ, three decades ago, becoming a pillar of the community that also earned him the name “Mr. Nick.”
“Volunteering and giving back to the community were very important to him,” his wife, Mary Jane, told CNN.
On March 31, the couple exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus and went to the hospital, where they were diagnosed.
Just 18 days later – 12 days after his brother died – he also died from the virus.
The brothers survive a sister and their parents, Nicholas, 96, and Josephine, 93.