A New Jersey couple married for 62 years died hours apart just two days after losing their son to coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press conference last week.
John Freda, a 51-year-old optician who was best described as funny, thoughtful, intelligent and introspective, lost his battle with Covid-19 on April 22, said Murphy. His parents, Larry and Vicki, died just two days later and hours apart. The couple also died from Covid-19, according to a state official.
“Three tremendous and loving souls all taken from the same family within a span of 48 hours,” said Murphy, who spoke to members of the family before announcing the deaths at the press conference on August 12. “The Freda family remains in our thoughts and our prayers.”
A “proud Jersey product all the way,” John Freda loved writing, drawing, art and superhero movies, Murphy said. He died just one month shy of what would have been his 52nd birthday.
His parents “were inseparable,” Murphy said at his press conference. “And there is a tragic poetry, as I mentioned, that they would both leave this life on the same day, literally within hours of each other.”
Both born in Newark, New Jersey, the couple spent 58 years in Fairfield township where they raised their three sons.
Larry, who was weeks shy of his 86th birthday, served in the US Army and went on to have a 24-year career at a brewery before becoming a custodian at West Essex High School. Vicki, 83, served as executive secretary to former Fairfield Mayor Rocco Palmieri before she retired in 2007.
Following their retirements, Larry and Vicki were full-time grandparents to their six grandchildren, attending sporting events, plays and choir performances.
John leaves behind three sons, Brian, David and Adam. Larry and Vicki leave behind two sons, Larry and Alex, and six grandchildren.
CNN has reached out members of the Freda family for comment.
As of Monday, New Jersey has seen at least 187,455 Covid-19 cases and 15,912 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“The Freda family is just one of thousands of families who know all too well the awful strength and power of this virus,” said Murphy. “For them, and for us all, we must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus and save lives.
“We must keep up with our social distancing and we must continue to wear our face masks. We have to think of others, of our own family and friends and our communities, and put the common good above all else.”