Illinois coronavirus deaths: Remembering those who lost their lives


They had been moms and dads, daughters and sons. Many had been proud grandparents. Two had been sisters from a tight-knit South Facet household. All had been cherished, family members say, and will likely be endlessly missed.

Because the variety of deaths attributable to the coronavirus ticks upward, the Tribune is working to chronicle those that have misplaced their lives within the Chicago space or who’ve connections to our area. These are a few of these victims.

Peter Sakas, 67, of Northbrook. Died March 30.

Dr. Peter Sakas ran the Niles Animal Hospital, and saved numerous animals and birds in his veterinary medical profession. In his Northbrook residence, based on Sakas’ youngest brother, Jim, you’d usually discover “some kind of stray animal, some creature in misery.”

Sakas’ sister-in-law, orthodontist Jackie Rosen, recalled how Sakas consulted together with her a few years in the past on an unique hen with a damaged beak, unable to eat. The pair found out methods to bond orthodontic braces with rubber bands to the skin of the hen’s beak.

“Six weeks later, we took the braces off and the hen was healed,” she mentioned. “Pete was in all probability the one one who ever put braces on a hen.”

The longtime proprietor of Niles Animal Hospital and Chicken Medical Middle died March 30, after a quick keep in Glenbrook Hospital. Sakas was admitted after experiencing flu-like signs, his brother Invoice Sakas mentioned.

Sakas’ daughter, Dr. Courtney Sakas, an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Middle, mentioned medical doctors at Glenbrook Hospital confirmed that her father had examined optimistic for COVID-19.

After he was admitted to the hospital, medical doctors positioned Sakas, who had misplaced a kidney to most cancers, on dialysis, however he gave the impression to be enhancing later within the week, as experiences from the hospital had him telling jokes and laughing together with his nurses, Invoice Sakas mentioned.

“By Saturday or Sunday, issues went downhill fairly quickly,” his brother mentioned. Sakas was on a ventilator and in a medically-induced coma earlier than he handed away.

His COVID-19-related demise lower brief a extensively admired profession dedicated to the care and remedy of animals and birds.

As a young person Sakas caddied on the Evanston Golf Membership, recalled his sister, Connie Markoutsas.

“In the future, as he was strolling residence from there, there was just a little hen on the sidewalk. He bent down, picked up the hen and carried it residence …. Pete mentioned he wished to assist the hen so badly, and he felt helpless. That’s when he determined he wished to change into a vet.”

The daddy of two grown youngsters, Courtney and Christopher, Sakas joined Niles Animal Hospital in 1980 whereas nonetheless a veterinary pupil. He took over the observe in 1985.

 “He was a vet in the identical manner he was an individual: caring and compassionate,” mentioned Al Whitman, who attended veterinarian college with Sakas on the College of Illinois. “He was in a position to do good and he did it effortlessly as a result of that’s the particular person he was.”

Within the mid-2000s, Sakas shaped a partnership with Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, a corporation that gives medical care to injured wildlife and releases the animals again into their habitats when they’re effectively once more, mentioned founder and director Daybreak Keller.

“He noticed the instances that had been the hardest, that had been past what we may do with out him,” Keller mentioned. “We took in a extremely sick red-tailed, grownup male hawk that had an enormous mass on his neck. (Sakas) did sensible surgical procedure to take away the mass. It turned out it was benign, the hawk made a restoration and was launched.”

Daughter Courtney Sakas mentioned she and her father would joke about her determination to change into a doctor.

“In a teasing manner, I’d say, ‘There’s an actual physician within the household — I maintain individuals,’” she mentioned. “He had this actually attribute twinkle in his eye and he would smirk and say, ‘You’re only a specialised veterinarian.’”

Courtney Sakas famous her appreciation for her father as a result of he would gave “sufferers a voice that didn’t have one.”

“There’s a e book referred to as ‘All Creatures Nice and Small,’ and he fully embodied that,” she mentioned of the James Herriot novel a few beloved veterinarian.

Son Christopher, who labored alongside his father as a veterinary assistant at Niles Animal Hospital, referred to as Sakas his idol.

“I plan on going to veterinary college,” he mentioned. “He was my inspiration, having the ability to work with him and seeing how he interacted with individuals and animals and the way educated, passionate and cherished he was.”

As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there are not any public funeral plans, however his household hopes to honor him sooner or later.

“Nobody was with him when he died, and that’s the worst a part of it,” Invoice Sakas mentioned. “None of us may see him.”

–Jennifer Johnson and Michael Phillips

Crystal Cantrell-Barbee, 63, of Hazel Crest. Died March 30.

Jerry Cantrell had been inspired to listen to that his older sister Crystal’s situation had improved final week after she had been hospitalized affected by shortness of breath.

A diabetic, Crystal Cantrell-Barbee checked herself into Advocate South Suburban Hospital final week and was discovered to have pneumonia. However her situation had improved after she was placed on a ventilator and handled with antibiotics.

“They gave her some antibiotics she was respiration so much higher and he or she referred to as me on the cellphone and informed me she was feeling higher and informed me to inform my spouse she’d be okay,” Cantrell, 62, recalled Thursday. “That was the final time I talked to her.”

However he mentioned her situation deteriorated after she was given the drug for remedy and needed to be resuscitated thrice. She died Monday afternoon on the Hazel Crest hospital.

The Prepare dinner County health worker’s workplace dominated that Cantrell-Barbee, of Hazel Crest died from the COVID-19 viral an infection, together with pneumonia, hypertension, diabetes and bronchial asthma.

Cantrell mentioned he had issues in regards to the medicine administered to her sister. “She was one of many backbones of the household. She’s virtually irreplaceable and for one thing like this to occur…this can be a travesty.”

Cantrell-Barbee labored within the medical discipline, having been an info and referral specialist for Advocate Well being Take care of 17 years.

To Cantrell, it made sense that his older sister would get into the medical discipline.

“She would offer you her final,” mentioned Cantrell, of Harvey. “She cherished her job. She had one of the best handwriting ever.”

The oldest of 4 youngsters, Cantrell-Barbee’s household had been among the many first black households to maneuver into the racially segregated portion of south suburban Phoenix.

“The Cantrells and the Wilsons had been the primary households to maneuver there,” Cantrell mentioned.

Cantrell-Barbee graduated from Thornridge Excessive College and later South Suburban Faculty, the place she earned a medical certification and levels in enterprise administration and administration.

Cantrell-Barbee is survived by her siblings and her son and daughter, who had been planning her funeral.

Sherman Pittman, 61, of Chicago. Died March 27.

Twenty-five years in the past, volunteers helped construct a two-story brick church in considered one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.

The Rose of Gentle Baptist Church turned a logo of hope for Englewood.

For Sherman Pittman, it might supply much more.

The Chicago man discovered the church years in the past after a co-worker whose cousin serves as its pastor informed him about it. By then, Pittman had kicked a drug behavior from his youth and was craving to offer again to his neighborhood, particularly its youthful individuals and people battling dependancy.

Sherman Pittman, 61, of Chicago, died Friday, March 27, 2020.

Sherman Pittman, 61, of Chicago, died Friday, March 27, 2020. (Household photograph)

He devoted his life to the church and his Brainerd neighborhood on the Southeast Facet.

“If solely two individuals signed as much as volunteer, Sherman could be one of many two,” the Rev. Jasper Edwards Jr. mentioned. “All the pieces he did, he put his complete coronary heart into it.”

Pittman died late March 27 after being contaminated with the coronavirus. Authorities listed underlying well being circumstances, together with diabetes, as contributing components. He had simply turned 61 in January.

He grew up on the town’s South Facet in a big household anchored by two hardworking, church-going mother and father. His nephew, Sentral Pittman II, mentioned his uncle ended up shopping for a bungalow instantly throughout the road from his childhood residence in Brainerd and have become one its most recognizable and beloved residents.

It was there that Pittman usually introduced his household collectively by way of block events and cookouts.

“You could possibly speak to him about something,” his nephew mentioned. “He was by no means judgmental.”

Sherman Pittman by no means married or had youngsters. However, Pittman II mentioned, his uncle was the favourite amongst his nieces and nephews. He handled them as in the event that they had been his personal and the household’s youthful era seemed as much as him.

When requested who his uncle seemed as much as, his nephew answered, “God.” When requested what he most valued in life, his nephew replied “his household.”

He remembered Pittman’s fixed smile, upbeat character and impeccable fashion. One other nephew in a Fb tribute referred to as Pittman “unbreakable.”

Sherman Pittman met longtime good friend Vanessa Edwards whereas the 2 had been union staff at Chicago-based Tootsie Roll Industries. Edwards mentioned she usually spoke about her church, the place her cousin was the pastor. She mentioned Pittman determined to test it out.

“To know him was to like him,” she mentioned. “He had a serving to coronary heart and really beneficiant spirit.”

The Rev. Edwards Jr. mentioned Pittman was the rock of the church. An internet tribute to Pittman consists of images of him surrounded by youngsters within the Rose of Gentle’s summer season camp program, vacation events and different church occasions. However his true calling, the pastor mentioned, was mentoring recovering addicts.

“He drew from his personal private expertise,” Edwards Jr. mentioned. “He would inform them, ‘Don’t let this decide the course of your life. Set your personal future. You may overcome this,’ after which he would inform them his story.”

Edwards Jr. mentioned he spoke to Pittman by cellphone after he was admitted to the hospital days earlier than his demise.

“Sherman was a man who didn’t actually present worry,” his pastor mentioned.

For the primary time, Pittman – the person who had given a lot of himself to his church – requested his pastor for one thing in return.

“Simply, please, inform the church to wish for me,” Edwards Jr. mentioned Pittman had requested. “The subsequent name I received, he was gone.”

Alberto Castro, 86, died March 30.

Household man who cherished work and music

Alberto Castro was chasing the American dream, his household mentioned, and throughout virtually 9 a long time, he succeeded.

Castro, who left Mexico and finally ended up in Melrose Park, died March 30 of issues from the coronavirus. He leaves behind a big household and greater than a dozen grandchildren. He was 86.

Castro solely went to highschool by way of the second grade, his daughter Claudia Castro mentioned, however he labored his manner up, finally turning into a U.S. citizen. In Melrose Park, he labored at Zenith and he later began his personal landscaping enterprise.

His household mentioned he cherished to work. However he made time to create and take heed to music. Together with his youngsters, he was personable and protecting, his household mentioned.

Claudia mentioned she as soon as informed her dad she wished to be a nurse. He mentioned, “Why not a health care provider?”

“He was all about schooling,” mentioned Claudia, who turned an lawyer.

“He would all the time inform individuals, ‘Oh, my daughter, the lawyer,’” she mentioned.

“He was man,” mentioned his son, Jose Alberto, who labored for years as his father’s caretaker.

Castro, who had dementia, was at Aperion Care in Forest Park when he developed the an infection, relations mentioned.

He was admitted to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital for pneumonia, his household mentioned, and so they realized he examined optimistic for COVID-19.

“I believe we had been all simply in shock, as a result of it occurred so quick,” Claudia mentioned. “We considered our dad being a robust kind of man, who has overcome many forms of obstacles.”

Over the weekend, it appeared that her father was enhancing, Claudia mentioned.

“We had hope,” she mentioned. “We got hope.”

However Jose Alberto suited up in protecting gear this week for a few-minute goodbye.

“I don’t know if he heard me once I was attempting to speak to him,” he mentioned.

The household hopes to have a memorial this summer season.

“We didn’t really feel that this was our dad’s time,” Claudia Castro mentioned.

Angel Escamilla, 67, Naperville assistant pastor. Died March 29.

Assistant pastor was a “non secular big”

An assistant pastor of Calvary Español in Naperville, Angel Escamilla spent greater than 40 years working in ministry, serving as a pastor, missionary, and instructor, and his ardour for the church deeply influenced these round him, his household mentioned.

Escamilla died March 29, per week after it was confirmed he contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 67.

Calvary Church Naperville's Pastor Angel Escamilla.

Calvary Church Naperville’s Pastor Angel Escamilla.(Alberto Arteaga)

Escamilla labored with Calvary Church Naperville’s Calvary Español, whose mission is “serving to the Hispanic neighborhood join religion with life to determine or enhance their relationship with Christ.”

Calvary Church’s Lead Pastor Marty Sloan mentioned Escamilla was “a person of sturdy religion within the Lord.”

“If anybody ever spoke into the heavens in prayer, it was Pastor Angel. He will likely be endlessly missed on our crew and within the church household,” Sloan mentioned.

In his biography on Calvary Church’s web site, Escamilla described the dedication he had for his work and household. “I’m obsessed with residing life with out remorse or worry, fulfilling God’s need for my life and seeing all of my grandchildren in ministry,” Escamilla wrote.

Escamilla’s son, Michael Escamilla additionally works at Calvary Church Naperville serving as a pastor of small teams and discipleship, a testomony to the legacy the elder Escamilla leaves behind.

Michael Escamilla mentioned his dad was a “non secular big” whose imprint has affected many and can lengthy outlast his time on earth.

“Just some days in the past, considered one of his grandkids mentioned to Papi: ‘You gave us a legacy and life to attempt to be like,’” Michael Escamilla wrote in a message from the church. “Our household will likely be formed and blessed due to the legacy of our dad. Future generations will love, bless others, minister and lead their households effectively as a result of dad began a brand new legacy for the Escamillas.”

Along with Michael, Escamilla had one other son and 10 grandchildren, based on Calvary Church. Escamilla’s spouse, Becky, to whom he was married for greater than 40 years, thanked church members for his or her assist and prayers.

“We cry, however we aren’t hopeless,” Becky Escamilla mentioned. “The impression of his life has affected many. It’s unattainable to depend the lives he impacted. He’ll dwell in our hearts endlessly.

Joseph Graham, 67, of Chicago. Died March 24.

Joseph Graham, who glided by the nickname “Joe Moe,” grew up in a tough South Facet neighborhood and was a well known determine on the streets earlier than kicking a drug behavior and turning into a supply of power for others touring the identical path, those that knew him recalled.

Graham, a faculty custodian, steppin’ aficionado and longtime resident of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, died March 24 after contracting COVID-19. He was 67.

Joseph Graham, 67, of Chicago.

Joseph Graham, 67, of Chicago.(Household photograph)

He grew up within the Woodlawn neighborhood, based on his longtime good friend Michael Parker. It was a tricky childhood, Parker mentioned, with insufficient colleges and no father determine to depend on, however Graham’s friendship was fixed.

“(He) cared about different individuals,” Parker mentioned. “His complete life was based mostly on the uplifting of people that had been much less lucky than himself.”

Graham developed a drug dependancy that lasted deep into his maturity, however in 1995, he entered remedy at New Beginnings, a South Facet restoration program. CEO Otis Williams mentioned Graham’s success in reaching sobriety served for instance to others who knew him from the road.

“He was a logo of hope for lots of fellows who couldn’t stop,” Williams mentioned. “He confirmed that it might be executed, that you would lead a productive life, have a household and be revered.”

Alaina Graham, his spouse of 12 years, mentioned he was a custodian for a agency that labored in Chicago Public Colleges. He was additionally a faithful stepper, whose clean activates the dance flooring are captured on a YouTube video (he’s the tall man with the white hat).

“Joe Moe was a really debonair stepper with a traditional clean fashion which he steadily displayed with whoever he partnered with on the dance flooring,” mentioned Iary Isaiah Israel of Phrase Of Mouth Leisure, which in 2016 honored Graham for being a part of the steppin’ scene for 30 years. “He had a aptitude for being dressed sharp — what we name ‘suited and booted’ — which stood out from the gang.”

Parker mentioned Graham made “1000’s of mates” all through his life. Alaina Graham mentioned his magnetic character prompted individuals to recollect him fondly.

“When you met him, you’d love him,” she mentioned. “He by no means met a stranger. He had a smile that will gentle up the entire place. Wherever he went, North Facet, West Facet, South Facet, individuals knew him.”

Apart from his spouse, Graham is survived their daughter, Joniece Graham. A memorial is tentatively scheduled for June.

Carole Brookins, 76, of Palm Seashore, Fla. Died March 23.

Carole Brookins, who began her profession as one of many uncommon ladies to work in Chicago’s monetary sector and went on to change into a high World Financial institution official, died in Palm Seashore, Fla., final week from issues associated to coronavirus. She was 76.

Brookins was born in Gary, Ind., and attended the College of Oklahoma, the place she majored in historical past. After graduating with honors in 1965, she got here to Chicago and have become a trainee underwriter of municipal bonds at A.G. Becker & Co. — incomes lower than half the wage of a male trainee.

Carole Brookins, 76

Carole Brookins, 76(American Monetary Change)

She quickly turned a market reporter on the Chicago Board of Commerce, and later left for New York to work for the E.F. Hutton brokerage agency. In 1980, she based World Views, a Washington, D.C.-based agricultural market evaluation and consulting agency.

In 2001, she turned the U.S. government director of the World Financial institution, the place she continued her concentrate on agriculture. She believed the personal sector performed a key function in combating world starvation, a philosophy she defined in a 2002 speech to commerce teams:

“Governments are like coaches,” she mentioned. “They’ve the playbooks and so they speak sport, nevertheless it’s the enterprise neighborhood that places the gamers on the sector and makes issues occur and delivers the products.”

After resigning from the World Financial institution in 2005, she turned a managing director at Public Capital Advisors, which helps governments entry funding for infrastructure initiatives. A Francophile, she based The First Alliance Basis in 2018; it is a non-profit meant to strengthen strategic bonds between France and the U.S.

Brookins’ longtime good friend Richard Sandor, founding father of the Chicago-based American Monetary Change, the place Brookins served as a board member, mentioned her character performed a big function in her success.

“She would by no means have risen to the heights she did if she didn’t have that mixture of mind and a sensitivity to human beings,” he mentioned in an interview. “She had a uncommon mixture of being very good and being a individuals particular person.”

Brookins is survived by “many shut mates and godchildren all over the world,” the change mentioned in a press release. A celebration of her life will observe.

Feliks Ogorodnik, 88, and Luiza Ogorodnik, 84. Died March 28.

A Skokie couple who emigrated from Ukraine to start a brand new life collectively in America has died, simply hours aside, each contaminated by the coronavirus.

Feliks Ogorodnik, 88, and his spouse, Luiza, 84, died Saturday at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview.

They’re the primary married couple in Illinois whom authorities publicly recognized to have died throughout the pandemic from causes associated to the illness.

Feliks, 88, and Luiza, 84, Ogorodnik

Feliks, 88, and Luiza, 84, Ogorodnik(Household photograph)

Family mentioned the couple got here to america from Ukraine greater than 20 years in the past after they retired.

Each turned residents and labored onerous to study English and expertise the traditions and tradition of their new residence, the household mentioned.

“They had been a wonderful couple,” their son-in-law, Ed Greenwald, mentioned Monday. “Very loving and fantastic grandparents and really integral to our household.”

He mentioned the household will not be sure how the couple turned contaminated.

The couple has two daughters, Irina Greenwald and Janina Schnaper, 4 grandchildren and different prolonged family members. They worshipped at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, the place Irina Greenwald’s relations are congregants.

“They had been very loving and type,” mentioned Rabbi Andrea London, who recalled seeing the aged couple in mid-February at a grandson’s bar mitzvah. “They had been so proud. (They) nonetheless struggled with English however (the grandmother) received up and spoke. They had been very clever individuals.”

Family mentioned Luiza Ogorodnik labored as a doctor in Ukraine. She had a lifelong ardour for studying and loved studying and the theater. In a web-based obituary, her household described her as a “very energetic girl, filled with optimism and life.”

The tribute continued, “She cherished individuals and all the time sought to assist these round her.”

Her husband, Feliks Ogorodnik, was a development firm provide supervisor in Ukraine. His household was all the pieces to him, family members mentioned. He additionally cherished gardening, usually sharing his harvest with household and neighbors.

Feliks Ogorodnik died minutes earlier than 5 p.m. Saturday, about four ½ hours after his spouse and in the identical hospital, health worker’s officers mentioned. Each had underlying well being issues that contributed to their deaths.

The household deliberate a personal funeral Tuesday. A bigger memorial service will likely be held at a later date.

David Jacobson, founding father of Chicago Jewish Funerals, which is dealing with the couple’s service, mentioned digital shiva, livestreamed funerals, recordings and different particular lodging are being supplied throughout the pandemic to limit attendance and cling to social distancing tips.

“Right here’s what we’re studying: Individuals want neighborhood greater than ever,” he mentioned. “That is actually displaying us how a lot individuals want one another.”

The household’s rabbi mentioned a digital shiva could be held, as effectively. Regardless of his household’s heartbreak, Greenwald mentioned they know they aren’t alone of their grief.

“It’s a tough time for our household and all of Chicago and the world,” he mentioned. “We’re going by way of extraordinary occasions.”

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Charley Hill, 78, of Homewood. Died March 25.

As daughter Monica Plaid remembered him two days after he died of pneumonia attributable to COVID-19, Charley Hill was a devoted church trustee who “all the time had the important thing to the constructing, all the time checked in on issues.”

A retired Prepare dinner County sheriff’s police division detective and negotiator, and a veteran of each the Military and Marine Corps, Hill attended South Suburban Church of God in Homewood. He and his second spouse, Marie Gault, moved to a Homewood retirement neighborhood final 12 months.

Throughout his first marriage, to Eloise Hill, now a Bridgeton, Missouri., resident, Hill and his household purchased a home in Harvey in 1975. Plaid was four on the time.

“We had been the primary African American household on the block,” she informed the Tribune. “We had some actually nice neighbors. I bear in mind all of it. I look again at my mother and father and see how a lot they sacrificed, and what they did to attempt to make our lives higher than theirs. That’s what I see in my father. He was a beneficiant particular person. A giving particular person.”

Hill joined the Military at age 18. 4 years later he joined his brother within the Marines and served within the Vietnam Battle, and later enlisted within the Military Reserve. Plaid remembers her father attending neighborhood school shortly after the household moved to Harvey. He’d research on the kitchen desk, Plaid recalled.

“These are the sacrifices some individuals make,” she mentioned. “Some individuals don’t maintain their duties. He wasn’t good however he solid his personal path for his household and did one of the best that he may. I really feel very grateful for him, and grateful.”

On March 19, Hill was taken by ambulance to Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest.

“It was like he’d had a stroke,” Plaid mentioned. “He didn’t know his title, didn’t know the place he was, wasn’t in a position to transfer, to make use of his decrease physique.” A couple of days after Hill’s switch to Advocate Christ Medical Middle in Oak Garden, he was on a ventilator and sleeping a lot of the time.

Charley Hill, 78, of Homewood.

Charley Hill, 78, of Homewood.(Household photograph)

Plaid mentioned her father lastly acquired a coronavirus take a look at March 23. The outcomes got here again optimistic March 24. He died March 25.

“It hurts so badly,” she mentioned. “We weren’t allowed to see him. I’ve executed loads of crying about that. I leaned on God and requested him to cowl him and be with him, as a result of we couldn’t.”

A couple of days earlier than he died, a nurse at Christ Medical Middle managed to rearrange a phone name with Plaid, putting a receiver as much as Hill’s ear. “I used to be in a position to inform him I cherished him,” she recalled by way of tears. “It was all of 30 seconds. However these 30 seconds meant so much to me.” She added, quietly: “God bless the nurse who did that.”

The Prepare dinner County health worker’s workplace listed hypertension and atrial fibrillation as contributing components to Hill’s demise. Along with Plaid, survivors embody his spouse, Marie Gault Hill and a son, Sean Hill.

Hill was additionally stepfather to 4 grownup youngsters by his second marriage and grandfather to a complete of eight grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. His burial will likely be at Abraham Lincoln Nationwide Cemetery in Elwood.

Memorial companies are pending.

Peggy Rakestraw, 72, of Matteson. Died March 25.

Peggy Rakestraw had excessive requirements for her two daughters.

Her youngest, Jennifer, mentioned her mom was strict however loving. She usually reminded her daughters to verify they saved their cash “for a wet day” and to be unbiased.

“She was protecting and wished one of the best for us,” her daughter mentioned. “When she mentioned one thing, she meant it and everybody knew it.”

The 72-year-old Matteson girl died March 25 in a south suburban hospital. Although she lengthy had been in failing well being attributable to end-stage kidney illness that required dialysis thrice per week, her daughter mentioned the household is shocked by her sudden demise and left with unanswered questions.

Peggy Rakestraw, 72, of Matteson.

Peggy Rakestraw, 72, of Matteson.(Household photograph)

It wasn’t till days later that they realized the trigger: pneumonia attributable to a COVID-19 an infection. Her varied preexisting well being circumstances had been listed as contributing components.

Jennifer Rakestraw mentioned her household doesn’t understand how her mom turned contaminated. She lived in a nursing residence, and the final in-person contact her household had together with her there was March 12 as a result of the power quickly stopped permitting guests because of the pandemic.

She mentioned her mom had moved into Generations at Applewood nursing and rehabilitation heart about six months earlier attributable to her fragile well being. She was admitted to the hospital two days earlier than her demise attributable to “confusion” and different signs not usually related to the coronavirus, her daughter mentioned.

The household was allowed to see her solely briefly that first day on the hospital.

“On high of all the pieces else, it’s devastating we couldn’t be there (when she died),” Jennifer Rakestraw mentioned.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Matteson facility acknowledged a resident had died after a two-day hospital keep. He mentioned directors had not been notified of the reason for the resident’s demise. He mentioned the power didn’t have any confirmed COVID-19 instances amongst workers or residents as of Friday.

In a press release, facility directors listed a number of security measures. They mentioned workers and guests had been pre-screened as of March 6. Entry has been restricted to “important well being care staff” since March 13. The power “is sufficiently stocked with private protecting tools and all staff who work within the residence adhere to the very best requirements of an infection management protocol and use private protecting tools,” the assertion learn.

Peggy Rakestraw grew up on the town’s South Facet and surrounding suburbs. She and her husband, Bobby, had been married almost 50 years, their daughter mentioned.

Earlier than retirement, she was a unit clerk on the former Oak Forest Hospital for about three a long time.

Jennifer Rakestraw mentioned her mom had humorousness and cherished studying, particularly thriller novels. She loved board video games, charades and watching her grandchildren play video video games.

She was an ideal prepare dinner. Her mom had a “particular secret recipe” for all the pieces, her daughter mentioned. Her specialties included lasagna, cornbread stuffing, enchiladas, and lemon meringue pie, to call a couple of.

As her well being declined, Jennifer Rakestraw mentioned, her mom remained mentally sharp and as soon as was fast to remind her daughters that she nonetheless was the boss.

“She as soon as informed me, when she was sick and I assume I attempted to decide for her, ‘I’ve a voice,’ ” her daughter recalled. “I mentioned, ‘Sure, Mother, you do.’ ”

“She was a wonderful girl,” she continued, by way of tears. “She was cherished.”

The household will maintain a memorial at a later date.

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Alvin Elton, 56, of Chicago. Died March 22.

Alvin Elton died March 22, 9 days after his 56th birthday.

The Chicago man thought he had the flu. He was exhausted. His physique ached.

“I don’t really feel dangerous,” his spouse recalled him telling her days earlier. “I’m simply so drained and haven’t any urge for food.”

However, after a March 20 chest X-ray at an pressing care clinic revealed pneumonia, Elton was instantly positioned on oxygen and hospitalized.

Alvin C. Elton, 56, of Chicago.

Alvin C. Elton, 56, of Chicago.(Gretchen Meyer)

“Forty-eight hours later, he was gone,” his spouse, Gretchen Meyer, informed the Tribune.

Authorities decided Elton died of pneumonia attributable to a COVID-19 an infection. He had preexisting well being circumstances, together with diabetes, which had been listed as contributing components.

Household and mates described his larger-than-life character and keenness for aggressive sports activities, each as a participant and a spectator. He was a well-liked aggressive darts participant on the town’s Northwest Facet who additionally cherished attending concert events, out of doors festivals, snowboarding and journey.

An in depth good friend, Peter Citera, remembered Elton for his “his straightforward smile, infectious laughter and unparalleled love of life.”

“The 2 issues that made Alvin happiest had been sports activities and having a chilly beer with good mates,” Citera mentioned in a web-based tribute. “If the 2 might be mixed — as they usually had been — effectively, that was completely ideally suited.”

Many referred to as Elton by his initials, “ACE.”

He graduated Evanston Township Excessive College, later following in his father’s footsteps whereas pursuing a profession as a pipefitter, his spouse mentioned.

She mentioned they met almost 20 years in the past whereas on opposing groups throughout a Thursday evening Windy Metropolis Darters league match at a Rogers Park bar. She isn’t optimistic whose crew received, however she remembers the e-mail he despatched her that subsequent morning and their first date a day later to a Cubs sport.

She mentioned Elton was particularly pleased with his Native American heritage.

His mother and father, each deceased, grew up on reservations in numerous Sioux tribes in South Dakota. He spent summers there when he was youthful and continued to review and pay tribute to his roots all through his life.

His father, Arthur, was a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. His mother, Adeline, or Addie, was a part of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

They met in Chicago within the early 1960s whereas each had been collaborating in a federal job coaching program, his spouse mentioned.

She described her husband as loving and heat, the type of man who simply made and saved friendships.

“He simply had essentially the most optimistic outlook,” Meyer mentioned. “Enjoyable simply appeared to seek out him. There was by no means a boring second when he was round.”

Meyer mentioned she thought her husband’s situation had stabilized March 21, the day after he was hospitalized. However, on Sunday, he nonetheless was unconscious and on a ventilator. He died that evening.

Carrying protecting gear, she was in a position to be at his facet although the hospital had restricted most guests.

Within the days which have adopted, Meyer described a maze of paperwork, misinformation, and confusion amongst varied authorities as she sought phrase about the reason for her husband’s demise and when his physique might be launched to a funeral residence.

Meyer additionally mentioned she has not acquired steering about whether or not she ought to be quarantined. She has voluntarily chosen to take action, she mentioned.

“It was very irritating and one thing that should enhance for different households,” she mentioned. “I wouldn’t need anybody else on this scenario to should undergo this.”

Moreover his spouse, Elton is survived by a sister, Anne Gavin, three nieces and a nephew. His spouse mentioned a celebration of his life will likely be held at a later date.

Patricia Ciametti, 72, canine grooming enterprise proprietor, Burbank. Died March 25.

Patricia Ciametti’s pet grooming enterprise in Palos Hills was referred to as a spot the place even incorrigible animals may come for a magnificence remedy. It didn’t matter how rambunctious that they had been at different retailers — Ciametti soothed them like a born canine whisperer.

“There have been canine no one may get close to, she’d begin working with them and swiftly they had been comfortable and calm,” recalled her good friend Denise Urquijo. “She had this magical manner of taking good care of canine and cats. She was simply wonderful.”

Ciametti, of Burbank, died early March 25 at Advocate Christ Medical Middle of coronavirus-related causes, based on her household. She was 72.

Patricia Ciametti and her German Shepherd Sarg.

Patricia Ciametti and her German Shepherd Sarg.(Household photograph)

Her daughter Mary Jones mentioned after Ciametti fell sick, she was informed by a health care provider and a staffer on the state’s COVID-19 hotline that her signs didn’t sound like coronavirus. She didn’t obtain a take a look at till after she went to the hospital in respiratory misery, dying a couple of hours later, Jones mentioned.

“I’m very upset,” Jones mentioned. “If she had gotten examined in time, they may have been in a position to save her.”

Jones remembered her mom as an animal fanatic who invested her ardour into her grooming enterprise, Sit ‘n’ Fairly. That’s the place she met Urquijo, who has her personal enterprise making canine biscuits. The 2 turned quick mates, forming a sister-like bond.

“Pat was a really sort and loving particular person,” Urquijo mentioned. “She handled everybody with respect. You couldn’t assist however like her. While you met her, it was like understanding her endlessly.”

Her co-worker Char Oliver remembered Ciametti as a tough employee who put her household first, and as somebody whose expertise elicited deep loyalty in her shoppers.

“She would have individuals are available in from different institutions that couldn’t (deal with) their canine,” she mentioned. “Loads of these canine had issues, however she received them executed. For that her shoppers had been completely grateful.”

Her cousin Kathy Soria, who grew up with Ciametti in Chicago, recalled taking tenting journeys to Lake Will in Wilmington, Illinois, the place they’d putter round on a pontoon boat.

“She’s only a fantastic, nice particular person and good friend,” she mentioned. “I spoke together with her each day. It is a large void in my life.”

Apart from Jones, Ciametti is survived by her son Michael and daughter, Vanessa; and grandchildren Cheyenne, Christopher, Steven and Paulie.

John “Curt” Johnson, 93, professor emeritus, Evanston. Died March 22.

Educator, poet, ‘character’

In his 93 years, John “Curt” Johnson was fueled by a ardour for studying, educating and an general curiosity about life.

He was an emeritus professor of English and former affiliate vice chancellor for tutorial affairs on the College of Illinois at Chicago.

John "Curt" Johnson, 93, shown in December 2019.

John “Curt” Johnson, 93, proven in December 2019.(Household photograph)

“He actually cherished educating,” Carol Johnson mentioned of her father. “The job was fixed, and he was very devoted.”

Lengthy retired, Johnson died March 22 on account of pneumonia attributable to a COVID-19 an infection with coronary artery illness and persistent pulmonary illness as contributing components.

He was a resident of the Three Crowns Park senior residing neighborhood in Evanston, the place he and his spouse, Joan, had moved a few dozen years earlier after downsizing from their longtime residence in Wilmette.

The couple was married almost 60 years earlier than her demise in 2012.

The son of a Swedish immigrant who painted homes to assist his household, Johnson grew up in Chicago and was impressed at a younger age by the written phrase. He and his spouse met at Northwestern College, the place they had been graduate college students learning English and shared an appreciation for the humanities.

Johnson, who glided by the nickname “Curt,” from his center title, cherished the classical music of Mozart and Vivaldi, and the works of Victorian poets, particularly Matthew Arnold.

The couple’s residence was stuffed with books, music and flowers. Meals had been served on a formally set desk, and conversations had been mental and passionate.

“They had been very beautiful,” mentioned a niece, Jenifer Nollin. “I bear in mind as a child, I believed they each had been so poised. I admired him so.”

Johnson wrote poetry all through his life. His numerous hobbies included pictures, politics, journey and gardening, particularly tending to his beloved orchids.

His niece mentioned he was robust, a stickler for correct vocabulary and grammar, however he additionally was “an actual character” who was witty, beneficiant and real. He as soon as owned a parrot named Perry and had a novel, particular expertise of wiggling his ears with out utilizing his arms.

She recalled a dialog they as soon as had about faith. Nollin mentioned her uncle’s religion was examined with the lack of his solely sibling — her mom — from most cancers at an early age.

“I bear in mind he mentioned that he nonetheless believed within the energy of affection,” she mentioned.

His daughter, Carol, recalled her father’s knowledge. There’s a answer to each downside, he reminded her.

He retired from the college after a greater than 30-year profession in 1984 after struggling a coronary heart assault. The John Curtis Johnson award with $500 remains to be given out every spring to an excellent first-year pupil in UIC’s honors school.

Later, as her mother and father aged, they determined to maneuver into an house within the retirement neighborhood. Johnson mentioned they cherished it there, and her father downsized once more into an assisted-living wing as his well being and mobility declined.

Carol Johnson mentioned it was a Three Crowns Park nurse who referred to as her March 15 to inform her that they had rushed her father, who had a fever and racing coronary heart fee, to the hospital.

“I don’t actually have to be right here,” Johnson mentioned her father informed her when she arrived within the ER to be by his facet. “They don’t must make a fuss.”

He died per week later. Johnson is now quarantined till the tip of the month, however she has not exhibited signs, she mentioned.

She doesn’t understand how her father turned contaminated. A couple of different Three Crowns Park residents even have examined optimistic, facility officers mentioned.

Carol Johnson mentioned she is grateful to the workers for the care they lengthy gave her father.

Moreover a daughter, Curt Johnson is survived by his son, Richard, who lives out of state.

Their cousin, Jenifer Nollin, mentioned she hopes their household’s loss amid a time of widespread worry will remind others what’s necessary in life.

“Be sort to at least one one other,” she mentioned. “Don’t miss the chance to inform individuals you care about them.”

Patricia Frieson, 61, retired nurse, Chicago. Died March 16.

‘One of many sweetest individuals you ever need to meet’

Lower than three weeks earlier than she turned the primary particular person in Illinois to die from the brand new coronavirus, retired nurse Patricia Frieson posted a prophetic message on social media indicating she knew how unrelenting the illness might be, particularly for these like her who suffered from respiratory sickness.

“Take care everybody,” she mentioned in a Feb. 28 message on Fb, “(and) might the world recuperate from coronavirus quickly.”

Patricia Frieson.

Patricia Frieson.(Household photograph)

Frieson, 61, considered one of 9 youngsters in a tight-knit household, later examined optimistic for COVID-19 and died March 16 on the College of Chicago Medical Middle.

A longtime resident of the town’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the South Facet, Frieson is remembered for her soulful, highly effective voice and deep religion. She usually sang together with her sisters at Progressive Beulah Pentecostal Church close to her residence.

She cherished doting on her many nieces and nephews, and was “one of many sweetest individuals you ever need to meet,” mentioned a youthful brother, Richard Frieson, of Minneapolis.

Frieson, who had a historical past of well being issues together with respiratory points, pneumonia and lymphedema, wasn’t too involved when she first checked into the hospital, her brother mentioned. However her situation shortly worsened.

He described the added ache for the household of not having the ability to consolation his sister, who was in isolation and on a ventilator in her ultimate moments.

Two days earlier, whereas within the hospital, Frieson posted one other message on her social media web page.

It learn: “Till the nice Lord calls Me away from this world to the following, I need to make it clear that I consider in Jesus Christ because the True Lord and Savior. Even if I’m human, and I fail loads of occasions, I consider that Jesus is the Son of God, who was sacrificed on the cross, and died for our sins. He loves us all dearly (way over we deserve) and forgives our sins if we’re in repentance. His Phrase says ‘who so ever believeth in Me, will likely be granted everlasting life.’ ”

Christy Gutowski and Elyssa Cherney

Wanda Bailey, 63, retired nurse, Crete. Died March 25.

9 days after a retired nurse from Chicago’s South Facet turned the primary particular person in Illinois to die from a COVID-19 an infection, one other member of her household additionally succumbed to the lethal illness.

Wanda Bailey, 63, of Crete, died early March 25 at a hospital in south suburban Olympia Fields.

Wanda Bailey, 63, of Crete.

Wanda Bailey, 63, of Crete.(Household photograph)

Authorities mentioned Bailey died of pneumonia attributable to a COVID-19 an infection with hypertension, coronary heart and lung illness listed as contributing components.

Bailey, considered one of 9 siblings in a tight-knit household, is an older sister of Patricia Frieson, family members mentioned. A Waukegan funeral residence confirmed it’s dealing with preparations for each sisters.

A brother, Richard Frieson, from Minneapolis, mentioned Bailey checked into the emergency room on the evening of their sister’s demise as a result of she, too, was experiencing respiration issues.

He mentioned the household tried to stay hopeful that Bailey would possibly pull by way of as a result of she was in higher general well being than the sibling who had died.

The brother mentioned it’s unclear how his sisters turned contaminated. Patricia Frieson didn’t get out a lot due to her well being issues, he mentioned. She had attended a funeral weeks earlier than her demise. The siblings additionally usually attended church companies collectively.

Family at the moment are mourning back-to-back losses whereas in isolation.

“We hoped for one of the best, nevertheless it simply didn’t occur,” Richard Frieson mentioned.

— Christy Gutowski and Madeline Buckley

John LaPlante, 80, retired visitors engineer, Chicago. Died March 21.

‘He was very a lot an innovator’

Chicago native John LaPlante took nice pleasure in working for the town. That didn’t change even after his boss, Mayor Richard M. Daley, blamed him for the catastrophic 1992 subterranean flood within the Loop — a rebuke some shortly concluded was unfair.

However he didn’t increase a fuss. He resigned at Daley’s demand and moved into the personal sector as a visitors engineer. Inside a 12 months, the town introduced him again as a advisor for municipal initiatives.

John LaPlante.

John LaPlante.(Household photograph)

“He took (the criticism) magnanimously, I believe, and realized that’s simply the best way it really works,” mentioned his good friend and colleague Tom Kaeser. “I believe the mayor acknowledged that John was engineer. He was held in excessive regard.”

LaPlante died March 21 at Evanston Hospital from what his household mentioned had been coronavirus-related causes. His daughter, Leslie LaPlante, mentioned it seems he contracted the virus on a latest journey to Egypt. He fell sick upon his return and examined optimistic March 10, two days after he entered the hospital.

His spouse, Linda, who accompanied him on the journey, didn’t contract the virus, Leslie LaPlante mentioned. Carrying protecting gear, Linda and Leslie LaPlante had been each with him when he died.

Leslie LaPlante mentioned her father, who retired in 2012, was an enthusiastic world traveler who was dedicated to his household, his church and his occupation. After leaving his metropolis job, he continued his work with T.Y. Lin Worldwide Group, consulting on initiatives everywhere in the world.

Heather Gaffney, a retired civil engineer who labored with LaPlante at T.Y. Lin, mentioned he was a mentor to many within the occupation and much forward of the curve when it got here to contemplating the transportation wants of cyclists, buses, pedestrians and the disabled.

“He was very a lot an innovator,” she mentioned.

Leslie LaPlante mentioned the household plans a service “as soon as we all know what (circumstances) will enable.” Within the meantime, they’re taking consolation in how LaPlante is being remembered — and the way he’s now serving as a reminder to deal with the pandemic with the utmost seriousness.

“We’ve seen that for some individuals, it has pushed it near residence,” she mentioned. “I assume that does make a distinction.”

Michael Mika, 73, Chicago. Died March 19.

He was their hero, mentor and a dad who by no means allow them to down.

A Vietnam veteran, Michael Mika of Chicago died March 19, 5 days after he had been admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The 73-year-old Northwest Facet man died of pneumonia attributable to COVID-19, officers mentioned. Contributing components included coronary heart illness and diabetes.

Married for 51 years, he’s survived by his spouse, Josephine, three grownup sons and grandchildren.

Although too distraught to speak publicly about their loss, a daughter-in-law took to Fb to induce others to heed public well being security protocols. The household granted the Tribune’s request to publish her phrases, which garnered greater than 400 shares, likes and feedback providing sympathy and prayers.

“As individuals of all ages are complaining in regards to the inconveniences they’re dealing with attributable to shutdowns and (stay-in-place) orders, let me provide help to grasp the magnitude of the scenario,” Kelly Mika wrote March 21.

Kelly Mika described the household’s heartbreak of not having the ability to be with their quarantined patriarch within the hospital, impatiently ready for updates from his medical crew.

“Ultimately, he was alone,” she wrote.

Of their grief, she continued, family members are “unable to consolation one another by way of hugs and household contact because of the quarantine interval,” and so, “we’re compelled to speak by way of cellphone calls and textual content messages.”

Below regular circumstances, the Catholic household could be planning visitation companies and a funeral Mass. However, Kelly Mika mentioned, they’ve realized “funeral properties are extraordinarily restricted on visitation companies and church buildings are closed,” so their grieving course of will likely be prolonged till a later service could be held to “honor our Vietnam Vet the best way he deserves to be honored.”

She concluded, “So in case your each day routine is inconvenienced, I ask you to consider these, like my household, who’re coping with an unprecedented scenario. We’re compelled to simply accept it and transfer on one of the best that we will.”

“I don’t write this for sentiments of sorrow or pity. I merely am asking for everybody to take this severely. My household resides the nightmare that has now change into our actuality. We proceed to observe and respect the quarantine procedures as a result of we’re accountable residents. Many different households have already and will sadly observe in our scenario, COVID -19 associated or not. Nevertheless, the closures will proceed to affect households similar to ours.”

Luis Juarez, 54, transportation firm worker, Romeoville. Died March 18.

Luis Juarez died March 18 after being hospitalized for what he thought was pneumonia, based on considered one of his sons, who requested that his title not be used to guard the household now in quarantine.

The Romeoville resident labored for a transportation firm and traveled usually in america and Mexico. He returned from his ultimate Mexico journey Feb. 28. In keeping with his son, considered one of three within the household, Juarez attended a quinceanera celebration in Elgin the next day. He had no signs on the time.

Over the following a number of days, what gave the impression to be a standard chilly turned worse. On March 12, Juarez was hospitalized, based on the son, and prescribed antibiotics for what medical doctors recognized as pneumonia. By March 15, Juarez’s situation had turned crucial.

“We didn’t know he had been examined,” the son mentioned of his father testing optimistic for the coronavirus.

Even with the onset of COVID-19 fatalities nationwide, the son mentioned, the Juarez household — like tens of millions the world over — disregarded the pandemic’s unfold at first.

“Most occasions, we have a tendency to remain quiet and go together with the jokes and the memes,” the son mentioned. “That ignorance and silence is killing many. My dad was considered one of them.”

Journey bans are interfering with the household’s needs to bury Juarez in his native Mexico.

“That was his dream,” the son mentioned.

Laura Rodriguez and Michael Phillips

Carl Redd, 62, Chicago. Died March 21.

When he was in good well being, Carl Redd usually rose early to drive his oldest daughter to work and drop off his 9-year-old grandson in school.

Redd, 62, insisted on squeezing in each second he may with this solely grandchild, Dylan, whom he adored.

Carl Redd.

Carl Redd.(Delliah Redd)

A lifelong Chicagoan who family members say was the king of the yard barbecue, good-natured and humorous, died late March 21 at Jesse Brown VA Medical Middle.

He died of respiratory failure attributable to non-traumatic mind harm, authorities mentioned. A COVID-19 an infection, persistent pulmonary illness and different preexisting well being circumstances had been contributing components.

His firstborn daughter, Delliah Redd, mentioned her father by no means totally recovered from a extreme bronchial asthma assault he suffered of their Auburn Gresham residence in late October. He collapsed “in my arms,” she mentioned, however paramedics labored to resuscitate and stabilize him. He was handled at varied hospitals.

Redd mentioned her father lastly returned residence final month for a short while however was hospitalized once more after getting a fever.

“We type of figured it was getting near the tip,” she mentioned.

Nonetheless, family members say they’re shocked and nonetheless in disbelief that he might have been contaminated with the brand new coronavirus whereas hospitalized.

Delliah Redd mentioned her father beforehand examined unfavorable after arriving on the VA hospital mid-February. A hospital spokeswoman didn’t instantly reply to the Tribune’s request for remark

His daughter mentioned the household final noticed him March 17 as a result of the hospital started limiting guests attributable to security precautions. His spouse, Lillian, donning a robe, face masks and gloves, was in a position to be at his facet, spoon-feeding pureed meals to her husband of 35 years.

Their daughter, watching from the hospital room doorway, witnessed the ultimate moments of a person and girl who met a long time earlier as staff of the long-closed Spiegel retailer within the metropolis.

He may barely converse, Delliah Redd mentioned.

“I requested him, ‘Have you learnt who I’m?’ ” she mentioned. “He mentioned, ‘my oldest.’ Once I requested him if he was OK, he simply nodded his head sure.”

She mentioned his coronary heart stopped March 21 whereas his physician was within the room, giving his spouse an replace on the cellphone about his situation.

Redd, a retired HVAC repairman, enlisted within the Military in 1978 and served about six years earlier than being honorably discharged, based on his navy data. He was raised in a Christian household on the town’s West Facet. He cherished rock ’n’ roll music and comic Richard Pryor.

“His most excellent function was his larger-than-life smile,” a youthful sister, Pamela Redd, mentioned. “He all the time wished to be there for his household, that was his first precedence, it doesn’t matter what else was occurring in his life.”

Moreover his spouse, daughter, sister and grandson, he’s survived by two different daughters, two different siblings and his mom, Pauline, who turned 83 Wednesday.

Carl Redd will likely be buried at Abraham Lincoln Nationwide Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. Although authorities have briefly suspended navy honors, he will likely be laid to relaxation with different veterans who served their nation, Delliah Redd mentioned.



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