Sun Editorial: Let’s reflect on those who we’ve lost

As part of #JerseyStrong, remember people who died due to the pandemic.

Since one afternoon in early March, Gov. Phil Murphy’s press conferences have taken on a  somber tone.

“Sadly, with the heaviest hearts – and this does not get easier — we must also report we’ve lost more lives due to this pandemic,” Murphy said.

Each of the governor’s briefings has a moment of remembrance for three people who have passed away from COVID-19 and who they were when alive. They have, as Murphy continues to note, left a lasting mark in their respective communities. 

Patriarch of the Ravitz family and owner of several ShopRites, Steve Ravitz passed away at Jefferson Hospital on April 7 after contracting COVID-19. The 73-year-old is remembered by family and friends as a “man of giving spirit” who made sure to help whenever and wherever he could. That included his offer to pay student lunch debt at Cherry Hill Public Schools.

A later, public memorial for Ravitz at Platt Memorial Chapels will be scheduled when pandemic restrictions are lifted. 

Beloved basketball coach and former player Marty Derer, of Williamstown, passed away on April 6 due to COVID-19-related complications. The 56-year-old referee was known to treat kids he interacted with as his own, both on and off the court. In the summer, he would escape to Wildwood and ride his bike on the island, taking in the beauty of the shore town. 

Another consequence of COVID-19 in South Jersey was the death of five residents at a nursing home in Marlton. A male in his 80s from Gloucester City, a 53-year-old male from Evesham and an 84-year-old Moorestown resident are also among those who have died from the virus.

There are more untold stories of South Jersey residents who have passed away and families privately mourning them. We may never hear their stories, but each death is much more than a statistic.

They were people who impacted their local communities, who gave back when they had nothing, who selflessly cared for a stranger out of the goodness of their hearts. 

A common remembrance Murphy sends out on his social media accounts is a testament to who we are: “We are #JerseyStrong. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.”

Let’s mourn and remember the lives lost, and come together to collectively fight the virus in their honor. We owe them that.