Even while battling ovarian cancer, Tracey Germano was more concerned about her loved ones than herself.
From her hospital bed, Germano pressed them for details about their lives and asked how she could help them. The Islip resident never complained about her own situation.
She handled cancer “with grace and dignity and courage that I’ve never seen before in a person,” said her husband, Charles Germano.
She succumbed to clear cell ovarian cancer on New Year’s Eve at the Mary Ann Tully Hospice Inn in Melville after a yearlong battle. The mother of two was 47.
“Our time with her was cut way too short, but my family is doing our best to find peace in the wonderful memories of an amazing woman with a heart of gold and extraordinary smile,” Charles Germano wrote in an email. “While I could go on for pages upon pages, I just simply do not have the strength at this time.”
Germano was born March 8, 1970, to Ed and Kay Johnston in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Pottsgrove High School in 1988.
She met her husband in a residence hall while attending East Stroudsburg University in 1990.
Germano graduated with a degree in management in 1993 and began substitute teaching in the West Babylon school district.
The couple married on Nov. 30, 1996.
Germano received a master’s degree in education from Dowling College around 2000 and started teaching fourth grade at Forest Avenue Elementary School, where she worked the rest of her career.
Melanie De Lapi, a friend who teaches in the same district, said Germano was “the most patient teacher ever.”
“She was very, very dedicated to the kids,” said De Lapi. “They all love her. They’re all very sad by it.”
Charles Germano, a principal at Tooker Avenue Elementary School, said he has received numerous messages about “the lasting effects my wife’s teaching” had.
“She just loved children and wanted to make a difference in their lives,” he said. “She definitely accomplished that with every child she interacted with.”
Tracey Germano was physically active, enjoying skiing, running, biking and playing tennis.
“Her family was her greatest hobby,” her husband said.
In addition to her husband and father, Germano is survived by children Madelyn, 15, and Cameron, 18; and her sisters, Terry Gliddon of Oklahoma and Jenny Ewing of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania.
Visitation will be held at Overton Funeral Home in Islip on Friday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by a memorial service.
She will be cremated. A separate memorial service will be held March 8 at a cemetery to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Islip-based cancer nonprofit Mondays at Racine.