NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — CBS2 is continuing our series honoring the people we’ve lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporter Cindy Hsu looks back at the lives of New York City firefighter Ralph Costanzo and businesswoman Rhoda Fertile.
Costanzo, 86, spent more than 30 years as a New York City firefighter and loved working at Engine 88 in the Bronx. Prior to that, Constanzo served in the Navy during the 1950s on a submarine.
He married Lucille Cavallo in 1961 and told her the day they met that he was going to marry her. They raised three children together: LeeAnn, Ronald, and Steven. LeeAnn says her father loved to make people laugh, he enjoyed fishing in Montauk and cheering for the New York Yankees. He also played racquetball for more than 20 years.
Constanzo passed away from coronavirus on April 3 at 86 years old. The family released the following statement:
“Listen closely because we will be talking to you from down here every day. We love you Dad and will miss you forever.”
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Fertile, 89, was born in Brooklyn in 1930 and took over the family business, The Reliable Meat Market, which has been around since 1926. Fertile married her high school sweetheart Alan and they settled in Upper Nyack.
The Fertile’s had three sons: Steve, Bruce, and Howard. The family lost the two oldest to cancer when they were adults and Rhoda persevered through several bouts of cancer herself and recovered each time thanks to the help of her family.
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In addition to their children, the Fertile’s had two granddaughters named Nicole and Stacy. Two months ago on Valentine’s Day, Rhoda broke her hip. While she was recovering from surgery, she contracted coronavirus. Fertile passed away on April 16 at 89 years old.
Her granddaughters called her a superwoman because she was so independent and always took care of everyone else.