Fermin Martinez loved his Jamaica, Queens community.
"He was always happy, always joking around, always smiling," said Elaine Feliciano, his friend and neighbor for 17 years.
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Martinez was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Jamaica with his parents, Dolores and Gustavo. He worked at the Briarwood Pharmacy for many years.
On March 25, he was admitted to Queens Hospital Center, suffering from symptoms of coronavirus. He died just five days later. He was 61.
Martinez leaves behind his wife, Adalgisa and three children, 32-year old Manuel, 17-year Marifer and 2-year-old Arlet.
He was part of a much larger family, a family that has not had an easy time of it this year. He was one of 14 siblings. His older brother passed away in January after a massive stroke. His 30-year old nephew, Jose Vera, also died in January following an asthma attack.
"The family is like a little gang," Feliciano said. "They didn’t need friends. They didn’t need anybody. They were always together playing dominoes and laughing. He loved playing dominoes, listening to music and hanging with his wife, kids, brothers, sisters and in-laws."
Martinez's friend Elaina, whom he called "La Bori," said the saddest part was that he was a man who always had his family around him, but he died alone.
"Not being there to say goodbye," Elaina said, "is almost too much to bear."
"The world just lost a good-hearted and gentle soul," she added.