Día de Los Muertos | Rhode Island

Community Ofrenda | November 2, 2020

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Photos by Neil Dixon, Historic New England

John Ryall "JR"

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Our brother, JR had moved to Rhode Island [from New York] because he was recovering from a stroke. He was in a Rehab facility in East Providence. It was one of the last facilities in Rhode Island to get COVID, and he was one of the last people there to get COVID. Unfortunately, he did not do well.

J.R. died in beginning of June, during the first surge. He was waiting to get assistance, but not long after he went there to get care, he got sick before we knew it!

He was an avid music fan, but "fan" doesn't do it justice. Beatles, Ramones, Punk Rock. He was also a Mets fan. He grew up and lived in New York's Long Island his whole life. He was very, very, kind, gentle, quiet and introverted.

Sgt. José Jimenez

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My Brother/ Mi Hermano: There is so much I wish to say as I think of you every day. You were the heart, soul and protector for me and mom. I always knew you were someone special that believed in giving your shirt off your back when someone was in need, and giving back to our community/church as an offering of thank you for shaping us into strong individuals.

The day I knew you were destined to protect our country was in high school. The way you stood proud to be in a JROTC uniform, and the moment you shared with mom your future plans. I know she was fearful like any parent, but she did not object because she was proud that you were following in all our uncles’ footsteps, as each uncle served in a different branch.

I miss the way we communicated as you were overseas. You watched me grow up through our E-Mail conversations and care packages of snacks and pictures of me and mom. It was hard, but it was the new norm to grow up with your loved one over E-Mail. The years passed you kept re-enlisting because you felt this is what you had always dreamed of doing: “protecting her (USA).”

When the day came and we heard the news, I didn’t want to believe it … I wish you were here to give us a big hug but I know we will always be together.

To My Hero, my guardian angel, my Brother
From your loving sister, Maritza R. (Jiménez) Luebbers
RILA receives funding from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and the Rhode Island Foundation.
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