An 81-year-old man and former commissioner of a New Jersey fire department who died after contracting the coronavirus received a social distancing procession this weekend from his former colleagues so his wife could say goodbye from their porch.
Richard Gould was a volunteer firefighter and 15-year Commissioner of the Woodbridge Fire Department, Mayor John McCormac said Sunday. As Gould's body was taken to be laid to rest on Friday, firefighters and neighbors said farewell to the longtime resident when his procession passed through his home, NJ.com first reported.
Elizabeth Arnett Williams-Riley, Gould's next-door neighbor, recorded the somber motorcade, capturing a photo of Gould's wife of 59 years, Marie Ann, sitting and watching on her porch.
The pandemic has been changing how we say goodbye to our deceased loved ones. For example, some hospitals are taking several days to release death certificates, and even more days to release bodies.
"This is just heartbreaking. The Gould family is far better than State Farm, like a great neighbor, they are always there," Williams-Riley said in her post. "We have such fond memories with him and this was very difficult. He died alone and his family could not be together to lay him to rest."
Gould died from COVID-19 complications on Sunday, March 29, according to Costello-Greiner Funeral Home.
Aside from serving his town as a firefighter and commission, Gould was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956-1959, his obituary said. He is survived by his wife, his two sons and four grandchildren.
The Woodbridge Township reported an additional 47 cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total to 301. Across New Jersey, there are 37,505 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 917 in the state have died as of Sunday.