A pair of brothers from Queens, one a retired FDNY captain, shared a lifelong bond — and died from the coronavirus less than two weeks apart.
Nicholas and Ralph Gismondi were “big family men” who were so beloved that neighbors posted banners praising them when they succumbed to the pandemic, CNN said in a report Sunday.
Ralph Gismondi, 68, had retired from the fire department with the rank of captain and was among the first FDNY personnel to respond to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the network said.
He was working as a flight attendant for JetBlue airlines when he came down with a cough, fever, and shortness of breath on March 17.
Two days later, he and his wife Ann — who had known each other since they were teenagers — tested positive for the virus.
He died from complications from coronavirus on April 5.
“I could not have a funeral for him,” Ann Gismondi told CNN. “I did not have, you know, that closure. It was just a freaking nightmare.”
Nicholas Gismondi, 65, did not learn about his older brother’s death until he himself was hospitalized with the virus.
Known to friends as “Poppi,” Nicholas Gismondi was a standout baseball player at Monsignor McClancy High School before studying accounting.
His son, Christopher, told the outlet his dad was “someone who always wanted to turn life’s lemons into lemonade.”
Nicholas relocated to Westfield, NJ, three decades ago, becoming a pillar of the community that also earned him the name “Mr. Nick.”
“Volunteerism and giving back to the community were very important to him,” his wife, Mary Jane, told CNN.
On March 31, the couple came down with coronavirus symptoms and went to the hospital, where they were diagnosed.
Just 18 days later — 12 days after his brother’s death — he also died from the virus.
The siblings are survived by a sister and their parents, Nicholas, 96, and Josephine, 93.
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