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Beloved parent, friend of school loses life to Covid 19, remembered by alum, son

A sign for a real estate project run by Ralph Marasco stands near Flanagan Lake on 168th and Fort. Marasco, father of Nico Marasco ’12, passed away due to the coronavirus on March 24. Photo Courtesy of Nico Marasco ’12.

Father and son had worked together for nearly five years. They had shared success, even if that meant butting heads more than a time or two. However, neither of them thought March 23 would be the last time they spoke.

Ralph Marasco, father of Nico Marasco ‘12, died as a result of the coronavirus on March 24, making him the first Nebraskan to die due to the pandemic changing the world. For Nico, the loss of his father was completely unexpected.

“It was a complete surprise,” he said. “Unfortunately for him, all the symptoms of COVID-19 were symptoms that he lived with every day. One of the side effects of his blood pressure medication was coughing; he was fatigued and short of breath as part of his daily life.”

Ralph suffered from heart disease, and, with his heart operating at only a quarter of its capability, he was susceptible to the virus and passed away at the age of 59. His death meant that Nico not only lost his father, but also his colleague.

“We both just loved working together. It was awesome,” Nico said.”I learned a lot about business from him. [He taught me] a lot of territorial instincts, trades, what to look for, and how to handle situations and different aspects throughout our business.”

Working in real estate in Omaha for more than 35 years, Ralph had certain characteristics that made him successful, foremost his personality, according to Nico.

“He would walk into a room and just capture the room,” he said. “He was funny, loud, outgoing, and people just wanted to be around him. People were enamored with him. He was just so funny.”

Outside of the workplace, one thing Ralph enjoyed was sports, especially football. Over the years he made multiple contributions to Mount Michael athletics, even participating on the committee to build the football field.

“Even after I left, he was heavily involved with the school,” Nico said. “I would have to say he saw how great of a school it was. I think he saw how happy it made me; that’s why it made him even more happy.”

The Mount Michael community is something Nico still appreciates today and is something that proved itself to him again after his father’s death.

“I’ve had tons of people reach out. It’s been amazing,” he said. “They say it’s a brotherhood; it’s a bond. That shows you that they’re not just saying that to say that; it’s true. It really is a brotherhood. It’s nice to know that even after I’ve been gone for eight years now it seems like we were all just together yesterday the way they were reaching out.”

However, all the condolences cannot make up for the hole Nico now has in his life. He has a tough time considering what he will miss most.

“I don’t know. There’s so much,” he said. “I guess I’d say him and I would banter back and forth and go round and round, or when something crazy happened with business and being able to tell him.”

Even with his father’s death, life still goes on for Nico. He has returned to work, now with words of advice for those who do not see the pandemic as a serious threat.

“Don’t take it lighthearted,” he said. “We all watch the TV; we all watch the news and think ‘Oh, that could never happen to me; there’s no way that could happen to my family,’ but it could. It could easily happen tomorrow.”

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