COVID-19 continues to strike at the heart of the city of Bayonne.
On April 4, Kenneth Ciolek lost his wife of 49 years due to complications from COVID-19. Maureen Ciolek, 70, died that morning.
Eighteen days later on April 22, Ken also succumbed to the virus while hospitalized at Bayonne Medical Center.
Their passing paints a harrowing picture of the virus’s impact on the local community. As of April 29, 51 residents have passed away due to complications from COVID-19.
Born in Jersey City, both lived in Bayonne for more than 50 years. Ken worked for Graziano and Company for the past 15 years after serving in the U.S. Army. Maureen was a Health Department employee who worked for the City of Bayonne for more than a decade in various other capacities.
Ken and Maureen are survived by their daughter Jennifer and their grandchildren Jackson and Jordan.
A legacy of love
“Today, we lost a big part of our Bayonne City Hall family to the COVID-19 virus,” Mayor James Davis said. “Maureen Ciolek, a woman who was well known and loved by those who worked with her at 630 Avenue C and whose smiling face was seen by hundreds and hundreds of people each day as she sat in her office in the Health Department, died this morning, and we are all stunned and deeply saddened by her passing.”
According to Davis, Ciolek was hired by the city in 2010, working for the Mayor’s Office, the Municipal Court, and the Health Department during her tenure.
Davis said that it was her position within the Health Department that most people came to know because her desk faced the busiest hallway in the building.
“Nobody, and I mean nobody, said ‘hello’ to more people during the work day than Maureen did,” Davis said. “And every single ‘hello’ from her was accompanied by a warm smile and a friendly wave or nod of the head.
Ciolek was not only a happy soul but also a dedicated worker. Her coworkers and friends in city hall treasured their interactions with her and will grieve her passing for a long time, according to Davis.
“Maureen came to work early and left late every day, and she was pleasant to all who came in contact with her from the moment her beloved husband Kenny dropped her off in the morning, until he picked her up at the end of the day,” Davis recalled.
While the curve has been flattened in Bayonne, according to Davis, the need for social distancing and the stay-at-home order continues to help prevent the further spread of the virus and any subsequent loss of life.
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