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COVID-19 Victims: Idella Alban, Catherine Eisenmann and William Olenik


The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. climbed above 50,000 today.


One detail to help you understand that number - The Boston Globe's obituary section ran 16 pages on Sunday. That's nearly double the number of pages as the same day last year.

KELLY: Infections are on the rise in Massachusetts. More than 2,300 people have died there.

CHANG: So we decided to leaf through some of those obituary pages and spend some time remembering a few of the people who have died.

KELLY: Like Idella Alban. She was 97. She worked for years at the Tubular Rivet and Stud Company in Quincy, Mass. Alban's family described her as loyal, loving, selfless. She adored her grandchildren. She loved holiday gatherings, card games and bingo. Her Boston Globe obituary described her as a kind and gentle soul who will be missed greatly by all who knew and loved her.

CHANG: Catherine Eisenmann, age 90, started off as an elementary school teacher. After she left that job to start a family, she went on to teach religious school at Resurrection Parish church for 17 years. For over two decades, she led tours of the Massachusetts State House. Eisenmann had a lot of hobbies - gardening, decoupage, lampshade-making and baking. She loved taking her grandchildren bird-watching, blueberry-picking and ice skating. Her Boston Globe obituary says she could find common ground for conversation with almost anyone.

KELLY: William Olenik, a U.S. Navy veteran, served aboard the USS Edgecombe and the USS Barnwell during World War II. He worked at Schrafft's Candy factory for many years. An avid Boston sports fan, he also enjoyed playing cards with friends and, on occasion, trying his luck at the Foxwoods Casino. Olenik had nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

CHANG: Three of the more than 2,300 Massachusetts residents who have now died from COVID-19. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.