Since the first recorded death in Massachusetts from the coronavirus, more than 8,000 residents have died.
More than half of those were residents of long-term care facilities, and a huge majority of the deaths were people age 70 or older.
Fewer than 5% of the deaths were people in their 50s, like Mary Crimmins, 57, of Longmeadow.
“So many things, thinking about her, make me smile,” said Susan Crimmins, Mary’s sister. “She would write my mother a note, and she would sign it, your loving daughter, Mary K. Crimmins.”
Mary lived in a group home from the age of 22, Susan said.
"She knew that she was a little different. She knew she had Down syndrome. But she never let that stand in the way," she said.
Recalling when they were young, Susan said Mary was one of the five Crimmins siblings, and she enjoyed running, bicycling, and downhill skiing. Later, Mary loved her job working at McDonald's, as well as movies and music.
Mary enjoyed a good party, her sister said.
"She is the only person I know who was just excited to have another birthday and turn another year older," she said.
Susan recalled many conversations where Mary would ask, “Can you believe I'm going to be 57?” Susan said she would explain to Mary that most people don’t want to talk about their age. But that didn’t matter to Mary.
With her birthday in July, Mary's family would throw pool parties and invite friends and neighbors to celebrate with her. Susan said Mary would start talking about the next year’s birthday plans on the next day.
"It was the biggest holiday of the year for her. She just loved it," Susan said.
And Mary got a kick out of wearing makeup, and cultivating her own fashion sense. She loved jewelry.
"You might say, 'Oh, that bow is too big.' That didn't matter to Mary," Susan said. "If she wanted it, she was going to wear it."
The same was true while Mary was ill. Susan said that even while Mary was hospitalized, sick with the coronavirus, she still wanted to look her best.
"She was in the hospital, you know, for the week before she passed, and she was on a ventilator," Susan said. "My sister Jennifer said she was talking to the nursing staff, and they were like, 'Oh, she still has a ring on.' ...She was just a character, in so many ways. A really sweet person. And a wonderful sister."
Mary Katherine Crimmins passed away on May 31 from COVID-19.