Centenarians Jill and Bill Caldarone passed away in May, their son, Ron Caldarone, told The Providence Journal.
“There is so much to say about someone who has lived 100 years,” Ron, 72, said when eulogizing his mother, per the newspaper.
The couple, who met in high school, were longtime Rhode Islanders, growing up on Federal Hill in Providence. They moved many times after Bill enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1937 but eventually returned to their hometown.
Bill, who passed away before his wife, served in both World War II and the Korean War and was identified by The Providence Journal as the Ocean State’s oldest former Marine prior to his death.
The two had only recently begun living at Crystal Lake Care Center in Pascoag when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. Like so many other long-term care facilities across the county, Crystal Lake Care Center was also affected by the novel disease, reporting COVID-19 cases among residents.
Bill was first found to test positive, with Jill — described by the newspaper as a “mom, master gardener, real-estate agent and military wife” — testing positive soon after as the couple shared a room. They both passed away shortly after, within two weeks of one another.
Lockdown restrictions prevented Bill from receiving a full military funeral, while Jill was comforted by a nurse at the Crystal Lake Care Center as she passed, according to the newspaper.
“It’s more than numbers. My father and mother weren’t just numbers,” said Ron, according to The Providence Journal.
As of Wednesday, Rhode Island has reported more than 14,000 cases of the novel virus and more than 700 deaths.