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Former Norwalk City Clerk Roman succumbs to COVID-19

Former Norwalk City Clerk Mary Roman, in a photo from a CrowdRiser fundraising page created on her behalf.

Editor’s note: A GoFundMe drive aims to help Roman’s family. Read about it here.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk has a third fatality from COVID-19. Former City Clerk Mary Roman passed away Monday evening, her son said.

Roman was taken off a ventilator at about noon Monday afternoon and passed away about six hours later, Michael Roman said.

Mayor Harry Rilling said Monday evening that there had been two Norwalk deaths due to COVID-19. Roman passed away after that news release, according to her son.

Mary Roman, 83, a renowned senior athlete, had been thought to be improving. She had four sons and a “a whole lot of grandchildren and great grandchildren,” Michael Roman said.

“Mary Roman was the mother of my closest lifetime friend, the late Warren Roman,” Patrick Ferrandino wrote. “She was the matriarch of her family of five sons, with many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and daughter-in laws. Her husband and one son predeceased her.”

Michael and his brother Kenneth have lived with their mother. Although they’ve been exposed to the disease, they can’t get tested because they aren’t showing symptoms.

“I don’t want to go out there and give it to somebody else and have them go through what I went through. But it’s just hard to get a test,” Michael Roman said.

Mary Roman had gone to Costco two days before developing symptoms, he said last week. She had also gone to church, according to her son.

“Who would of thought that going to the grocery store meant risking your life or, in the case of our dear friend Mary Roman, losing your life?” Ferrandino wrote.

“The grocery stores in Norwalk are NOT following safe practices by allowing too many shoppers into their stores at one time and, once inside, not adhering to safe distancing among shoppers at the checkout counters! This lack of safety standards is endangering the lives of our residents, is irresponsible on the part of these establishments and is unacceptable!” he continued, in a Facebook post. “Our daughter, who lives in Austin, Texas, tells us that grocery stores there are only allowing 10 customers at a time to enter and have created one-way aisles in their stores, all while practicing social distancing of six feet, including at checkout.”

He suggested that law enforcement get involved. “Curb-side pickup should not only be an option at restaurants, why not at the grocery stores… especially for our senior citizens!” he wrote.

Several people have offered to bring the two sons food, since NancyOnNorwalk’s Friday story quoted Michael Roman as saying they were running out.

There’s a cooler in the driveway and people have been dropping off food, including chickens, hamburgers and canned goods, he said Monday.

Mary Roman had been planning to attend an athletic event when she became ill, he said.

She holds at least two world records in senior athletics.

“Mary was a wonderful person and an inspiration to us all,” Mayor Harry Rilling wrote. “She had a can-do, never quit attitude. She was kind, caring, and selfless. She brought international recognition to our city through her athletic prowess. My deepest condolences to her family she will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace.”

“Mary Roman was an outstanding citizen of Norwalk, a champion not just in Senior Olympics but in volunteer activities and City government as well,” former Mayor Alex Knopp wrote in a NancyOnNorwalk comment. “Although there is a tradition of partisan turnover in the few positions appointed by a Mayor after an election changes the party in control at City Hall, I asked Mary, who had been a long-term Republican City staff member, to stay on as the Assistant City Clerk after I was elected Mayor in 2001 and I never regretted my appointment. She served the City loyally, regardless of the political party of her colleagues in the Mayor’s office.”

Roman also helped many Norwalk non-profit agencies, such as the Norwalk Senior Center, but never sought special recognition, he said.

“I saw Mary for the last time just last month when she came to the Norwalk Library to help us honor a prominent volunteer, a task she had fulfilled herself for many years,” Knopp continued. “We caught up about our families. She told me about her forthcoming athletic competition. How much crueler does this horrendous virus now seem when it takes from us a person we knew so well, when she was still so full of life and so full of the spirit of giving.”

“Mary only had kind words to say and, when there were no kind words to say, she would just smile” Ferrandino wrote. “She was the first to come to my home when both my mom and dad passed away and was always so gracious and kind. Mary was always willing to step in and help wherever there was a need. A world class athlete, a successful career woman, the matriarch of her family and a friend to all. She will be missed dearly. Norwalk has lost one of its finest residents.”

This story was amended several times after being published, to include more information and the video of Mary Roman. Correction, 2 p.m.: Kenneth Roman.

Mary Roman – Master Shot Putter from GoodSport on Vimeo.

Original story:

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk has a third fatality from COVID-19. Former City Clerk Mary Roman passed away Monday evening, her son said.

Roman was taken off a ventilator at about noon Monday afternoon and passed away about six hours later, Michael Roman said.

Mayor Harry Rilling said Monday evening that there had been two Norwalk deaths due to COVID-19. Roman passed away after that news release, according to her son.

Mary Roman, a renowned senior athlete, had been thought to be improving. She had four sons and a “a whole lot of grandchildren and great grandchildren,” Michael Roman said.

Michael and his brother Carl have lived with their mother. Although they’ve been exposed to the disease, they can’t get tested because they aren’t showing symptoms.

“I don’t want to go out there and give it to somebody else and have them go through what I went through. But it’s just hard to get a test,” Michael Roman said.

Several people have offered to bring the Roman sons food, since NancyOnNorwalk’s Friday story quoted him as saying they were running out.

There’s a cooler in the driveway and people have been dropping off food, including chickens, hamburgers and canned goods, he said Monday.

Mary Roman had been planning to attend an athletic event when she became ill, he said.

43 comments

Margaret K. Suib March 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm

I am so sorry to hear this news. I had hoped that all of our prayers would have healed her. Norwalk is all the poorer for losing Mary Roman. May God bring comfort to those who mourn.

Kathryn Hebert March 23, 2020 at 8:04 pm

My heart goes out to the family. I knew Mary and worked with her for many years at the City of Norwalk. A beautiful, amazing person who always looked on the bright side of things with a positive attitude. God Bless.

Charles E Treadway III March 23, 2020 at 8:36 pm

Our condolences to the Roman Family. Mrs.Roman was a great person and an inspiration to those who knew her. She is back with your Dad and Brother. Our prayers are with you at this time. Charles & Darlene. God bless.

Banks March 23, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Very sorry to hear about this. I hope Michael and Carl can get tests soon. Two world records are more than most will ever have. Rest peacefully Mary.

Mary Geake March 23, 2020 at 8:46 pm

I’m so very sorry to hear about Mary. I’ve known her forever it seems and she was a first class woman. My condolences to the family in this very hard time.

RUDY GISOLFI March 23, 2020 at 9:26 pm

I am shocked and so saddened by this news. She was simply the best. I was privileged to be a friend for many, many years. She will be welcomed into the paradise of heaven with open arms. Safe journey dear Mary. You made the world a better place for all that knew you!
My sincere condolences to all the family.

Lisa Wilson Grant March 23, 2020 at 9:40 pm

I am so sorry for the family’s and communities loss. For such a healthy person to succumb this is making me nervous.

Alex Knopp March 23, 2020 at 9:57 pm

Mary Roman was an outstanding citizen of Norwalk, a champion not just in Senior Olympics but in volunteer activities and City government as well. Although there is a tradition of partisan turnover in the few positions appointed by a Mayor after an election changes the party in control at City Hall, I asked Mary, who had been a long-term Republican City staff member, to stay on as the Assistant City Clerk after I was elected Mayor in 2001 and I never regretted my appointment. She served the City loyally, regardless of the political party of her colleagues in the Mayor’s office. She helped many Norwalk non-profit agencies, such as the Norwalk Senior Center, but never sought special recognition. As is well-known, Mary was a nationally prominent Senior Olympic athlete, but she kindly lowered her usual gold-medal standards to agree to be my partner in the 2-person “Guys and Dolls” golf tournament at Oak Hills (we didn’t win). She loved to travel and to share stories with us recounting her large family reunions. I saw Mary for the last time just last month when she came to the Norwalk Library to help us honor a prominent volunteer, a task she had fulfilled herself for many years. We caught up about our families. She told me about her forthcoming athletic competition. How much crueler does this horrendous virus now seem when it takes from us a person we knew so well, when she was still so full of life and so full of the spirit of giving. Thanks to her son Michael and the other members of her family for sharing Mary with us for so many active and memorable years.

Peter Tucci March 23, 2020 at 10:17 pm

RIP Mary
My deepest sympathy to the family & all Mary’s friends. She was a great person & a great Norwalker. You will be missed.
Pete

Walker March 23, 2020 at 10:55 pm

Didn’t know her, but my heart hurts for her sons, grandchildren, and everyone else affected by the loss of Mary Roman. My condolences to all left behind.

William Avnayim March 23, 2020 at 11:06 pm

Please if your going to write about Mary Roman get your facts straight. She had 5 sons none named Carl. Michael and Kenny lived with her. Warren the oldest passed. Craig anf Gerald are the other 2 sons

Alan Booth March 23, 2020 at 11:58 pm

Having known Mary for over 12 years while attending St. Paul’s on the green, I remember her graciousness and friendliness. I can not remember her without a smile. I can still see hear sitting on the left side about 6 pews back from where I sat. She will remain there in my mind.

Pepe DuPew March 24, 2020 at 3:51 am

I’m now less fond of Norwalk Hospital than I used to be. Someone please explain what they didn’t do right and what they could have done better.

Bob Giolitto March 24, 2020 at 6:19 am

I’ve known Mary for the last ten years at St Paul’s On The Green. She was always there helping others in need, with cheerfulness and joy. I found out through others of her many athletic accomplishments, her service to Norwalk, her dedication to those in need; she never bragged. What an example for all of us. We’ve lost a gem who lighted up our world. Prayers for her family. Rest In Peace friend.

cheryl pironto March 24, 2020 at 8:28 am

Bill Avnayim, thanks for clarifying my uncertainty about dear Mary being Kenny’s Mom. My deepest heartfelt sympathy to the Warren family at this time. You were so blessed to have such a beautiful woman in your lives. Rest peacefully, dear Mary.

Fred Wilms March 24, 2020 at 12:04 pm

I had the pleasure of knowing Mary for over 20 years. Mary was always kind, gracious and generous. When we overlapped in City Government, she was a great colleague. Afterwards I followed, in awe, her many senior athletic accomplishments. I always enjoyed running into her at many Norwalk community events plus even briefly attended her church. On a lighter note, she always found a way to post my state campaign lawnsigns on difficult New Canaan Avenue!
Mary’s passing is a real loss for Norwalk.

carol March 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Mary was a dear friend of over 20 years,I shall miss her smile and warm words. Rest in Peace dear friend.

Jason March 24, 2020 at 12:30 pm

This one hurts, and makes it even more real (and scary.) Anyone who knew Mary knew what a class act she was, both in and out of civil service. Sending all my prayers and love to her family at this very difficult time.

David T McCarthy March 24, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Mary Roman was a very nice woman, who truly cared about Norwalk. She was strong in both her athletic abilities, and in her love for others. She will be missed.

Peter Franz March 24, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Heartbreaking. I didn’t know Mary Roman, but I know Norwalk has benefited greatly from her life, and we all have benefited directly from her giving spirit.

Kate Adamson March 24, 2020 at 1:26 pm

May you Rest In Peace, Mary, and rise in glory. My condolences to your sons, and to all your family members. We will all miss your smile, and your willingness to help out.

Joyce Thomas March 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm

So sorry to hear of Mary’s passing.In NACAC Masters in Toronto last year she enquired of an athlete in het age group from Trinidad who had suffered a stroke.She promised to send something for her but the hectic schedule did not allow her to complete the promise.May her soul rest in peace.

K.C. Senie March 24, 2020 at 2:39 pm

We have indeed lost a beautiful, kind and accomplished woman. I had the privilege of working with Mary in the Mayor’s office during Frank J. Esposito’s administration. I will always remember her first day of work when a constituent came in. She stood right up and said: “We have a customer” Mary brought her banking experience and professionalism to her work in local government. When she was beginning her career in the Mayor’s office, I suggested she become familiar with the City Code. She memorized it! I admired her drive and determination to compete in the Senior Olympics and always thought twice before asking if I could borrow the stapler or other heavy object lest it come flying over the desks like a shot put. When I visited the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge this past year, I was reminded of stories she told about her family being models in some of the artist’s most famous paintings. She was indeed a part of our nation’s history and a beacon in our community and our hearts. A light has gone out that we will truly miss. I wish all who loved her peace and safety in the days ahead. K.C. Senie

Holly Bartlett March 24, 2020 at 3:18 pm

So so sorry to hear this news!Mrs.Roman was a wonderful person💔 My condolences to all her sons..
With much sympathy Holly and Pat Reda

Sherelle Harris March 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm

My sincerest condolences to Mary Roman’s family.
She was a class act. May she rest in peace!

Sutushti Lang March 24, 2020 at 5:09 pm

We will remember Mary’s enthusiastic love of running as she carried the torch through the streets of Norwalk in the Sri Chinmoy Oneness Home Peace Run. She truly embodied the ideals of world friendship and harmony. Those of us who ran with her in this biannual journey around the country will remember with gratitude her kindness, graciousness and genuine support. We are privileged to have known her.

Richard Moccia March 24, 2020 at 5:45 pm

I can only echo what former Mayor Knoll stated. When I was elected I appointed Mary as City Clerk. She was a delight to work with. Some of my fondest memories, were when she returned from one of her many athletic events, with a fistfull of medals and put them on my desk and we laugh about it. I never met one person who did not like Mary. Barb and I offer our condolences to her family.

Jon Wilkins March 24, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Sorry to hear about Mrs Roman. Such a long legacy of friendliness and dedication to Norwalk. My thoughts are with Kenny and the rest of her family.

Audrey Cozzarin March 24, 2020 at 8:50 pm

My husband and I knew Mary Roman from church, St. Paul’s on the Green, and will miss her very much. Her presence, with her constant smile and gentle, humble personality, has been a fixture for the 7 years we’d known her. As others have mentioned, she was very helpful, extremely capable, and like the athlete she was, confident and instilled confidence in everyone around her. She was a bright light, and we are honored to have known her.

Arpan DeAngelo March 24, 2020 at 11:28 pm

It was always an honor and a privilege to run with Mary in Norwalk when the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run came through in August for many years. Her fitness as a senior and an octogenerian inspired all of us, young and old, to ‘keep moving forward’ as her philosophy was just that. She practiced what she preached and did it well. We will miss her immensely. She is a real champion. Deepest sympathies to all of her extended family.

Heather Wilson March 25, 2020 at 12:47 am

I did not know Mary Roman. But what an exemplary human being. I think it’s tragic that she was such a healthy woman no doubtthat she was in shape somehow succumbed to this illness. The tests take too long! Did she have the proper care? I am sure that they did everything they could and how could this happen?! This virus is not selective. I’m so saddened. My grandmother won 12 medals in the Senior Olympics and also had polio as a child. Mary’s story really resonated with me by reminded me of my grandmotherwho was also a teacher. She had the same personality, and the generous traits of Mary, the matriarch of the family. I was also happy to hear that people are donating to the cooler in the driveway. Please love one another wear your masks, keep in touch through video, drop off food if you can. Wash constantly. Good luck everyone don’t leave people lonely.

Saadia Aziz March 25, 2020 at 10:09 am

I’m so touched and inspired by her story. Thank you, Mrs. Roman. May Allah be pleased with you.
My condolences to her legacy.

Karen Huff Pawlik and Emil Pawlik March 25, 2020 at 4:37 pm

Mary was a most wonderful all-around person in life as well as sports. She was ever kind, gracious, generous and giving. We have competed at the same track and field meets all over the world and she was a terrific competitor with a natural talent, determination and beautiful spirit. Always a pleasure to be around Mary. I was 6 years younger so never competed against Mary,(we compete in 5 year age groups in Senior and Master’s events) but we often were in the same groupings and applauded each other’s accomplishments. I in awe of her strength and record results, and she was always encouraging me and others to do their best. Her calm demeanor was always comforting on the athletic fields. Mary, you will certainly be missed. We will always remember you. Love Karen

Diane Lauricella March 26, 2020 at 10:37 am

Condolences to her great large family. Mary was a true “Citizen’s Citizen” and gave so much to the betterment of Norwalk.

May this virus threat soon be over. Please stay well (apart) and safe.

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