NEWBURYPORT — Vivian LeBlanc was not a fan of the color red and she never wanted her picture taken.
LeBlanc, a Newburyport native and well-known figure downtown, died from complications of the COVID-19 virus on May 1. She was 73.
Denise Sarofian, LeBlanc's niece and godmother, said "she was like an aunt to everybody."
"She was someone I thought would be there forever," Sarofian said. "She was always joking around and saying, 'Don't forget, I don't want red lipstick when I die.' She would always joke around with me and I just never thought that this would happen."
LeBlanc grew up on Purchase Street with her three siblings.
Aurelie Sauvan was LeBlanc's oldest sister and said she became well known in downtown Newburyport where she worked as a teller for many years at what was then Ocean First Bank.
"Around here, you have elderly and disabled people," Sauvan said. "They would all come to the bank and ask for her. She would count all of their money out, right in front of them, and she explained everything. She was very good with the elderly and people like that."
LeBlanc was most recently a resident of Seabrook and worked as a personal care assistant at Elizabeth Calsey House in Amesbury.
"She was always very good with the elderly," Sauvan said. "She was going to retire but she didn't want to leave. She said she couldn't leave the people there. She had a good heart, she had a good heart."
Sarofian said she was looking forward to seeing her aunt retire soon.
"She was 73 and she was still working. We wanted her to retire," Sarofian said. "We kept asking her to but she loved working with the elderly. She loved helping them and being there for them."
Sarofian said LeBlanc had pneumonia but also contracted the novel coronavirus last month. She was admitted to Portsmouth Regional Hospital on April 21 and died May 1.
"This hit home and when it did, oh, it struck hard," Sarofian said.
Given the current pandemic, only 10 mourners could be present for LeBlanc's graveside service Wednesday.
"My mom and I both feel like she is going to walk in the door any minute," Sarofian said. "It still doesn't seem real."
Sauvan said she knows that her sister will be remembered as a very caring person.
"She loved her family, she loved her friends," Sauvan said. "I never thought my sister would be one of the people who died from this. It is very difficult."
To read Vivian LeBlanc's obituary: https://obituaries.newburyportnews.com/obituary/vivian-leblanc-1079180055.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.