NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — CBS2 is continuing our series honoring the people we’ve lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporter Jessica Moore looks back at the lives of New York City Fire Marshall Michael Hankins and Pastor Grace Bowen.
Michael Hankins was known as the consummate gentleman, the friendliest person you could ever meet, and the guy who made everyone around him smile.
The 69-year-old former FDNY fire Marshall was a 911 first responder, who met his wife during the recovery effort at ground zero.
Together they raised two daughters and 3 sons in Jamaica Queens. Hankins wife Vickie says he loved jazz music, cold beer, and anything she cooked for dinner.
In retirement, Hankins was known as “coach Mike,” who mentored young local athletes on the football field and basketball court.
Vicki says Mike’s legacy wasn’t what he left for people, but what he left in people.
Mike came down with a fever on March 9th. He was hospitalized the next day, and remained in isolation until he passed away on April 2.
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Pastor Grace Bowen is described as a joyous, warm, welcoming person. She served as interim pastor at the historic First Presbyterian Church of Newton in Elmhurst Queens, where she was known as unorthodox in the very best way.
She would often invite children up to sing at the last minute, or replace the prepared sermon with a different message she felt needed to be shared.
Parishioners say her eyes beamed with radiance every time the church doors opened. She treated everyone like a special guest, and was always waiting with a hug and a smile.
The 69-year-old loved nature, being on the water, and dancing. As recently as Easter Sunday, parishioners say they didn’t know pastor Grace was sick.
She passed away from complications of coronavirus on March 19.