TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy takes a lot of hits from the media, but we feel credit is due to the Governor for keeping alive the memories of those who we’ve lost, sometimes, even months after their passing. The Governor’s daily tribute is a touching reminder of those who we lost during the height of the pandemic and without his reminder, many would have forgotten. It wasn’t until July 6th when we realized Governor Murphy was pulling memorials from the archives.
On that day, Jazz prodigy Wallace Rooney III was memorialized by the governor. I had to do a double-take, because Rooney passed away nearly four months earlier and I remembered reading his story in the New York Times back in March. It was then I realized that the governor’s daily roll call of COVID-19 victims and memorials was not tied at all to the rest of the press briefing, overnight deaths, etc, but a nice memorial tribute to those who died during the height of the pandemic.
On Monday, the Governor took a moment to remember Elana and Aurora Alvarez.
“Both came to the U.S. from their native Peru as young children. They both had careers as cosmetologists. Elena is being remembered for her pleasant smile, her ability to make everyone laugh, and her zest for life,” the Governor said about the two women. Alvarez passed away on Tuesday, May 28th, two and a half months ago.
He also recognized former Atlantic City security guard Arthur Tolbert who passed away May 12th.
“We remember Arthur Tolbert, whose home was Atlantic City. He worked in the casinos, and then as a security guard for the Atlantic City Housing Authority. Arthur loved sports, chess, playing the drums, solving crossword puzzles, and spending time with his family,” Murphy wrote.
Dr. Arnold Demain, 92, died back on April 3rd, but Murphy kept his memory alive at his July 10th press briefing.
“We remember Dr. Arnold Demain. He was a proud World War II veteran, and a research microbiologist and university professor. Arny was a true pioneer in the life sciences who wrote or edited countless books and articles, and received numerous awards,” the governor wrote.
Two days earlier, on July 8th, the Governor remembered Vincent Buchinsky, Jr., 70. Buchinsky passed away on April 6th, so it was a fitting way to remember this New Jersey resident three months after his passing.
“We remember Vincent Buchinsky Jr., an award-winning artist and educator. For thirty years, he taught & inspired thousands of students in his classrooms in Harrison High School and Sussex County Community College. In retirement, he taught art classes to seniors,” Murphy said.
That same day, he remembered Joyce Brauchle, who passed months earlier, on April 3rd.
“Joyce Brauchle, who was born in Newark, raised in Caldwell, and called Pine Brook home for the majority of her life. She was a compassionate soul who did whatever she could to brighten someone’s day, and found her inspiration in her faith. May God bless Joyce,” the Governor said.
Say what you want about Governor Phil Murphy, we may not like his public policy in any way, but he does take the time to remember people who otherwise would have been forgotten, the blessed souls we lost at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.