Brooklyn YMCA Employee Who 'Remembered Everyone by Name' Dies of Coronavirus: 'Truly Irreplaceable'
Janice Rodman worked the front desk of the Bed Stuy YMCA for over 13 years
A beloved member of a close-knit Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn community has died of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Janice Rodman, a staff member of the YMCA for over 13 years, died at the age of 52 on March 31, the community center announced on Facebook. She had suffered from bronchitis for the majority of her life.
“The Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA is heartbroken after learning that we lost our beloved staff member, Janice Rodman, who passed away this week. Miss Janice, as we called her, worked at our front desk for over 13 years. But more than that, she has been the heart of our Y,” the post read.
“Rodman brought joy to all who ever walked past her desk and “remembered everyone by name,” the YMCA said.
“Janice’s roots in the Bed-Stuy community made her a master connector of new to old neighbors. She remembered everyone by name, kids ran through the door to greet her, and if you needed a special favor with registration, she was your go-to person.”
Rodman is survived by her only daughter Jasmine Thornton, who “followed in her mom’s footsteps to serve [the] community as a Y teen counselor.”
As the YMCA community continues to mourn Rodman’s death, the center explained that “Miss Janice is truly irreplaceable.”
“We will miss her teasing, jokes, and scolding alike. Our hearts go out to Jasmine and her family at this time. While we cannot be with you physically, know the Y community is always here for you,” the post concluded.
Alongside the touching message, the YMCA included a sweet photo of Rodman, in uniform, smiling from her desk.
In the comment section of the post, social media users who knew Rodman expressed their condolences, with Evamarie Reid writing, “This is terrible news!”
“She was a beautiful soul and we/everyone will miss her. My sincere condolences and prayers to her family and staff at the Y. I’m so sorry to hear this,” Reid added.
“This is heartbreaking. Janice was always so welcoming an helpful. She will be deeply missed. My heartfelt condolences to her family,” Michele Barber-Perry commented.
“She was a sweetheart. I remember her during my time living in the neighborhood and volunteering at the Y. Sleep in peace,” Janelle Green shared.
RELATED: Arizona Man Dies After Self-Treating Coronavirus with Chloroquine Phosphate, Says Hospital
Rodman fell ill in mid-March, Thornton told BuzzFeed News. Initially, Rodman’s family thought she was having another bronchitis outbreak, but they later learned that she contracted COVID-19.
“She didn’t know she was as sick as she was,” Thornton told BuzzFeed News.
On March 30, Thornton explained that she noticed her mother’s lips had turned pale and that she was having trouble walking down the stairs due to shortness of breath — a symptom of the virus.
“We took her to the hospital, and they told us everything, and we found out what it was,” Thornton told BuzzFeed News.
Rodman was soon placed on a ventilator as her lungs were already badly damaged due to bronchitis. On March 31, at around 4 a.m. Thorton had undergone cardiac arrest twice and a few hours later, she died.
Thornton shared that her mother worked full time at Sterling National Bank in Manhattan. She spent the rest of her time at the YMCA. At least once a week, she worked the front desk.
“This work for her was really her community service,” Atherly, who worked with Rodman told BuzzFeed News.
Thornton shared that Rodman “was so warm and loving.”
“She really cared about each and every last person she came in contact with at the Y,” Thornton told BuzzFeed.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.