When the Marasco family discovered that Ralph Marasco, a 59-year-old veteran of the Omaha real estate industry and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Ambassador Real Estate, had passed away in his sleep, they assumed it was due to heart failure. In the early 2000s, Marasco suffered a major heart attack, and was told he had about 10 years to live.

Nico Marasco

“He was just in bed and he went to sleep and he didn’t wake up, and that’s how we knew he was going to pass eventually, so we just assumed it was heart failure,” Nico Marasco, Ralph’s son who is also a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Ambassador Real Estate, told KETV 7 Omaha, a local ABC news station.

However, on March 27, the Marasco family learned that Ralph had tested positive for COVID-19. As of March 30, Nebraska has reported 137 confirmed cases of coronavirus and two deaths.

“A lot of the symptoms of COVID-19 are the symptoms that Ralph lived with every day,” Nico told KETV 7.

Ralph regularly dealt with a cough as a side effect of his blood pressure medication, as well as shortness of breath and fatigue because of his heart problems.

“Following my Dad’s lead on being fully transparent and with a concern for all of you, I wanted to immediately share the advice of the Public Health Nurse from the Douglas County Health Department to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last time you were in contact with my Dad,” Nico wrote in a March 27 Facebook post.

On Sunday, Nico received his COVID-19 test results back, and learned he tested negative.

“I think it’s an eye-opener to people who have underlying health issues, because we couldn’t know if he had any of the symptoms,” Nico told KETV 7. “It’s just smart to stay home. If you don’t have to be out and about, stay home.”

Ralph worked in the real estate industry for 35 years and was known for his volunteer work with Omaha charities like the Salvation Army.

“While I’m truly heartbroken by his passing, I can only be proud that he was often described by his clients as one of the most honest and trustworthy agents in the market, with a sense of humor that was unmatched,” Nico wrote on Facebook. “Guided by a moral compass that was centered on doing business the ethically right way for his clients, remarkably, my Dad helped people find their dream home in Omaha.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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