Jose Hernandez was born with a learning disability, but he never let that keep him down. His sister, Evelyn Hernandez-Rosa, said he responded to every situation with kindness.
"He is a very kind-hearted person," she said. "Even a little bit to a fault."
The 56-year old lived with roommates in the Soundview section of the Bronx. When he began feeling ill, they decided to call 911.
"He was adamant that he didn’t want to go to the hospital," Hernandez-Rosa said, "but he couldn’t breathe."
That was on April 3. He died in Jacobi Hospital on April 5.
After he left Stevenson High School, Hernandez took on a series of jobs, doing what he could to earn a living. Most recently, he worked as a courier. But his sister remembered one job that was a bit special.
"He loved to watch sports," his sister said. "And he was a big Mets fan. And for a while, he worked at the old Shea Stadium, at the concessions."
Hernandez-Rosa said she and her only brother were as close as siblings could be.
"I really had to take care of him," she said. "He relied on me for advice. He didn't always make the best choices, and he was on his own for many years. I was always checking in to make sure he was on top of things."
When he was hospitalized, she said, she couldn’t speak with him because he was on oxygen. When he was gone, she was terrified by the pictures she saw of bodies in freezer trucks. She was afraid, she said, that he would end up in Potter’s Field. With the help of her state senator, Alessandra Biaggi, she was able to lay her brother to rest.
She wants him to be remembered for the kind and decent man she said he was.
"He always reached out to people," she said. "If he had $20 in his pocket and someone wanted $10, he’d give it to them. He always wanted to know how everybody was doing in the family. He was caring. He was a big guy with a big heart."