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Coronavirus Memoriam: Remembering NYU Basketball Coach Levester Thompson Jr. And WWII Air Force Veteran Charles Birch

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- CBS2 is continuing its series honoring victims of the coronavirus pandemic. Reporter Natalie Duddridge remembers two Staten Island men who cared deeply about their communities and families.

Levester Thompson Jr. was a 6-foot-5 gentle giant.

If you met "LT," as he was known, you never forgot him. He was generous, and so funny.

His love for basketball was second only to his wife, Simone. That's how they met. He played for New York University. She was on the dance team.

They eloped at 21 and were married for 23 years. They had two kids, a daughter, Jade, and son, Chase.

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Levester left a career in finance to coach the women's basketball team at NYU. It was his passion and gave him more time to spend with his kids.

He never missed one of their games.

On March 15, Levester came down with a fever. Three days later, he had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19.

His wife was told he could be out in two days, but he took a turn for the worse.

On April 6, his wife played his favorite song over the phone, "Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins. The lyrics go, "Our lives are forever changed, we will never be the same."

Levester died that night. He was 46.


Charles Birch

If you ever needed something fixed, you called Charlie.

Charlie was born in 1926. He was a World War II Air Force veteran. While stationed in Italy, he met his wife, Ada, out dancing.

At first, they couldn't speak each other's language, but Charlie always said they spoke the language of love.

They had two girls, three grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

Charlie never said a bad word, and was a big helper.

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After a 30-year career with Brooklyn Union Gas, he volunteered at Staten Island University Hospital for 30 more, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

He loved to wake up early to garden, and play solitaire.

On April 16, Charlie had a fall. He went into the hospital the next day for surgery. He was all set to come home, but instead contracted COVID-19.

Charlie died on May 13. He was 94.

They were two men whose kindness touched so many lives. They will never be forgotten.

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