NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – CBS2 is continuing our series honoring the people we’ve lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu remembers two people who championed education and learning for future generations.
Taiwo Ishola ‘Musa’ Amusa
Taiwo Ishola Amusa was born in Nigeria and moved to Staten Island in his 30s.
He drove a taxi for a few years, and then opened a store called “Milk & Things” that carries West African food and products.
His son Moe says it’s been a staple in the area for decades and is like a second home to many in the African community.
Musa, as he was lovingly called, passed away from COVID-19 on April 9 at 63 years old.
He leaves behind seven children and his wife, Margaret, who he met in high school.
His kids tell CBS2 their father’s focus was education and hard work. He would even ask neighborhood children at the store, “How are your grades?”
All his kids worked at the store at one time or another and after school. Instead of playing, they had tutors.
He made sure they all earned college degrees and while they each have their own careers, they’re now working to keep their father’s store open in his honor and for the community he helped bring together.
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Tammy Hendriks was born in Flushing, Queens. Her younger sister Jackie says Tammy was always her protector.
She had an infectious laugh that everyone could hear and grew up in a very close-knit family, originally from Trinidad.
She died on April 17 at just 50 years old. She spent 16 years teaching sixth-grade math.
Her fellow teachers and colleagues paid their respects in a long line of cars outside her home.
She earned two masters degrees and leaves behind her husband of more than 30 years, John, her son Justin and daughter Ashley who says her mom gave to everybody.
Many of her students looked up to her as a mother figure.
At Tammy’s funeral, loved ones released 100 balloons in her honor, and next weekend Ashley will graduate from college and become a teacher just like her mom.