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Coronavirus Memoriam: 40-Year Classroom Teacher Mary Jean McLaughlin And First U.S. Firefighter Death, Israel Tolentino Jr.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - CBS2 is continuing our series honoring the people we've lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

CBS2's Jessica Moore looks back at the lives of two public servants who opened minds and saved lives in New Jersey.

Mary Jean McLaughlin

Mary Jean McLaughlin was the glue that held her family and community together and was constantly seeking out ways to be of service to others.

The 89-year-old career educator spent 40 years in the classroom, much of that time teaching 4th grade at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, N.J., where she was beloved by students and staff.

She read three newspapers every morning, and always encouraged her four children to be lifelong learners and career servants, raising an artist, two lawyers and a neurosurgeon.

Mary Jean was known as an "Olympic level shopper," who never missed a sale.

She loved cooking her legendary meatballs almost as much as she loved weekends with her family at the shore in Seaside Park.

Mary Jean got sick at the end of April and died on May 5, National Teacher's Day.

Israel Tolentino Jr.

Israel Tolentino Jr. was the first firefighter to die of Covid-19 in the United States.

The 33-year-old father of two was known for his charisma, contagious smile and positive energy.

He spent 15 years as an EMT and was a first-year member of the Passaic Fire Department, where he was tasked with grueling physical and mental challenges, but never complained.

"Izzy," as the guys called him, loved riding his motorcycle, going camping, and volunteering with the Boy Scouts.

Izzy's family was his life, and his wife and two kids would often stop by the firehouse on their way to work to kiss their dad goodbye.

He got sick on March 14 and died on March 31.

One week later, the virus claimed his father's life as well.

Two career public servants whose impact will be felt long after their deaths.

For more remembrances, click here.

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