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Daughter sees sign from heaven in mother's death, birth of twins

Barbara Celotto died Wednesday from Covid-19 complications, nine hours before twin girls who would have been her great-granddaughters were born in another Buffalo hospital.

Some would call it the circle of life, but Celotto’s daughter says it is a sign her mother is in heaven.

“At 1 a.m. today, the twin girls were born. It was like they were sent down from my mother. It was a blessing,” Donna Lee said Thursday. “It kind of gives you a little smile and makes it a little easier.”

Celotto, 81, died at 4:40 p.m. at Buffalo General Medical Center and the twins were born at Sisters Hospital to Ambria and Ryan Ayers.

Lee also said the family has found other blessings to soften the grief of losing the woman who for many years had raised her and her four brothers as a single parent, before remarrying.

“We were able to say our goodbyes. She was conscious. We told her how much we loved her and how we appreciated everything she did. She blinked her eyes and she was mouthing words back that she loved us,” Lee said. “I can’t say enough about the nurses who cared for her at Buffalo General.”

Celotto resided with her daughter in Springville before entering Garden Gate Health Care Facility in Cheektowaga last December. At Garden Gate, she tested positive for Covid-19 on April 4 and was transferred to the hospital on April 11.

Garden Gate and Father Baker Manor nursing home each have had 14 residents die from Covid-19, the most of any nursing home in Western New York, according to the State Department of Health.

Lee said her mother was not intubated for a ventilator at Buffalo General because she had previously signed a do not resuscitate order.

“Thank God she did not have to be ventilated,” Lee said.

“She had raised us children as a single mom before remarrying. She had fought hard for us kids. When our stepfather died, she was devoted to her grandchildren."

Besides Lee, Celotto is survived by her sons, Gordon, Richard, David and Darryl Ayers; a sister, Joan Guerra;  a brother, Tom Bowen; 17 grandchildren and 21 great- grandchildren, including the twins.

Mrs. Celotto will be cremated and a celebration of life will be held at a date to be announced.

The Buffalo News is publishing stories about people from Buffalo Niagara who have died due to Covid-19. Please contact The News at if you know of someone whose story we should tell.

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