Julia Roman made history, becoming the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) female escalator mechanic. Tragically, she died on Thursday during labor, leaving her husband to raise the newborn twin girls and a 5-year-old daughter alone.
Roman’s family and co-workers said the 43-year-old, died of an amniotic fluid embolism after delivering twins Isabella and Grace.
John Chiarello, a Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 vice president, said in a statement about her death: “This is a terrible tragedy. Julia was a pioneer in her field. She was one of just a handful of women in her job title. She was a good co-worker, a good union person and a former shop steward. She will be sorely missed.”
“This family is going through an unimaginable ordeal and they need our help,” said Tony Utano, head of TWU Local 100.
Roman’s sister-in-law, Lucelenia Pimentel, said, “She was an amazing mom. Just like any expectant mother, she was looking forward to the arrival of her twin daughters. Jesus Christ had other plans, and now she is by his side.”
Pimentel set up a GoFundMe page to benefit Roman’s husband, the couple’s oldest daughter, Victoria, and the twins. At least $36,749 had been raised on the site as of Tuesday afternoon, and the goal has been raised to $50,000.
According to the Bergenfield Daily Voice, Roman had no complications with her pregnancy. She was hoping to breastfeed the twins and avoid the use of commercial products. With the family facing the alternative of using baby formula, “moms from across Bergen County turned out in droves to donate breast milk to the family.”
Julia also had two older children, Dwayne, 19 and Valeria, 26. According to the Voice, Dwayne is leaving for the Air Force in January and Valerie is graduating with a bachelor’s degree this semester.
Roman was born in the Dominican Republic before she moved to the Bronx. She and her husband eventually moved to Dumont, N.J., and started a family. She worked as an electro-mechanical maintainer for 15 years and was the first female escalator mechanic in the New York City transit system.
She had a full career and life ahead of her, family members reportedly said.
An MTA worker who made history as the first female escalator mechanic died giving birth to twin girls https://t.co/ZDXkRiNHf7
TWU mourns TEMM Julia Roman – please give to the family’s go fund me. https://t.co/JAbtnDOsnD
— TWU Local 100 (@TWULocal100) November 21, 2017