As a boy growing up in South Buffalo some 70 years ago, Salvatore Sedita looked up to his sister, who was nine years older.
Mary took him places, helped care for him, and had his back.
"She was like a second mother to me," he said, when asked to recall the woman who died days ago with Covid-19.
They had remained close as the decades flew by, and he would usually visit her on Sundays, after church.
This year, Mary Sedita's health, at 90, was especially frail. She was convalescing in the Father Baker Manor nursing facility in Orchard Park – where 41 residents and 25 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 – when she developed pneumonia, Salvatore Sedita said.
She was placed in Mercy Hospital where she, too, was confirmed to have the virus, he said. But Mary Sedita already had signed a document indicating she wanted no heroic efforts taken to save her life, and she did not want to be intubated.
She was returned to Father Baker Manor, where she received medication and oxygen but nothing else to deal with the virus, Sedita said. She died Friday.
Mary Helen Sedita was a distant cousin to the branch of the family that gave Buffalo a mayor, Frank A. Sedita, and two judges, Frank A. Sedita III and the late Frank A. Sedita Jr.
She graduated from South Park High School and Rochester Institute of Technology, her brother said. She worked as a loan officer for HSBC Bank and was active in the Democratic Women's Club of Western New York.
She married and divorced. There were no children. For much of her life she lived alone.
The siblings saw each other at least once a week, Salvatore Sedita said, and Sunday mornings were a typical time to gather. Asked how he will remember his big sister, Sedita said he would remember the role she played in his upbringing.
"When I was really little, it was she who would take me to the circus and to shows and to things like that," he said.
He also remembered her as a private person.
"She probably would get mad at me for talking to you," he said.