Every Friday, Carolyn Freyer-Jones encourages her family and friends to participate in #thefridayminute to honor her father Hugh and others who have died from the coronavirus pandemic.
The idea came out of a discussion with her brother about how sometime down the road, there may be a national day of mourning for those who have lost a loved one to Covid-19.
“Let’s not wait. Let’s not wait for a national day of mourning in the future when we all get a day off and it’s after hundreds of thousands of lives are gone, homes lost, jobs and businesses gone.” Carolyn Freyer-Jones recalls telling her brother. “Let’s create something now that we can share and that can be shared with everyone, that people everywhere can do right now.”
At noon eastern time, she wants people to take a minute to reflect and pray, and even send love and support to families who have been affected by coronavirus this year.
“The minute is a way to remind ourselves that we are all connected regardless of situation or circumstance. My father is everyone’s father, or husband, or grandfather, or friend,” Carolyn Freyer-Jones told CNN.
During this minute and several times throughout the past few weeks, Carolyn has been thinking about her own father, who she said died from coronavirus complications on his 86th birthday.
Remembering their father’s legacy
Hugh Freyer, a native New Yorker, was born July 14, 1934. His father, also named Hugh Freyer, was born in South Africa, and his mother Josephine Freyer was an Irish immigrant.
Hugh Freyer was raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City, where he attended George Washington High School. Hugh Freyer met his future wife Gertrude Flexer when they were 16 years old in Washington Heights. At the time of Hugh’s death, they had been married for more than 64 years.
He began working at Citibank as a bank teller in 1959. The devoted father of three worked at Citibank for over 40 years and finished his professional career as an independent consultant and financial adviser.
An avid New York sports fan, Hugh Freyer also had a large collection of baseball caps for his beloved sports teams that are being distributed to his children and grandchildren.
One of his favorite hobbies was participating in a sober poker game in the Bronx with other men he had met when he was in Alcoholics Anonymous. He was involved with the Alcoholics Anonymous community for over 50 years, and he would regularly go to hospitals to talk to people about rehabilitation programs.
“My dad was one of the longest running members,” Carolyn said of her dad’s Friday night poker game. “They kept each other sober.” Hugh played in his poker game for more than 30 years but would always come in with a budget as not to exceed his means, his daughter Carolyn told CNN.
Hugh Freyer also leaves behind seven grandchildren. He was known for buying each of his grandchildren their first cars; his daughter says it was nothing expensive but just a solid used car. He made sure that there was money set aside so that his youngest grandchild, who is 12 years old, can get her first car as well.
“That’s the kind of person he was. He paid everything on time, he helped people, he was really funny and he was smart,” his daughter Carolyn said.
Hugh Freyer originally went to the hospital for an unrelated medical issue on June 20. His doctors ruled out coronavirus after having him tested for it. His daughter said that on July 5, the day before he was supposed to be released to a rehabilitation facility, he was tested again.
This time he tested positive for coronavirus, despite not initially showing any symptoms.
His daughter said he died nine days later, on July 14, from coronavirus complications. Now, each Friday, Carolyn hopes everyone takes a moment to remember her dad and his legacy.
CNN’s Chiamaka Ofulue contributed to this report.