Memphis father of 5 dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

National News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – COVID-19 has taken a life from a Memphis family, and its surviving members—who all tested positive for the virus—have a strong message to share.

Vickie Quarles and her five daughters are facing the new year without husband and father, Theodis.

“He was such a loving man. He would do anything and everything for anybody. To know him was to love him,” Vickie said.

The 48-year-old died December 18, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

“He thought at first that it was just an upper respiratory infection,” Vickie said.

She says in no time his condition worsened.

“He had fever, he had stomach pains, breathing issues,” Vickie said.

The loss has been especially hard for the children, ages 2 to 18.

“The 6-year-old and the 10-year- old, they don’t sleep at night, and they’re trying to understand ‘When is daddy coming home’ and ‘Why do daddy have to be in the dirt?’” Vickie said.

Eighteen-year-old Alyssa, a medical student, who helped care for her father, says she wants to remember the good times, but says, “When I have to think about what he looked like, I only think about what I saw of him last, laying there, and I couldn’t help him.”

It’s unknown how or where Theodis, an insurance agent, contracted COVID-19, but Vickie has a warning for those who aren’t taking the virus seriously.

“Until it hits your door, you don’t really understand the meaning of actually staying safe and the real thing,” Vickie said. “Okay, this virus is actually real.”

The family, which tested positive for the virus, has just finished their quarantine process and are making plans to bury Theodis.

In the meantime, a friend has set up a GoFundMe account to help Theodis Quarles’ five daughters.

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