All of these memorials are hand written “summaries” of information I’ve found from various public sources including obituaries, social media posts, comments on death notices, and news stories… or ones which next of kin have told me about.
I respect privacy and the integrity of information; I only post those whose families have reached out to me or whose information is to be found public from obituaries or news stories.
I link to my sources at the end. I should cite things APA style, but right now it’s posted in quick and disorganized style. Links in the Resources page are in the order I’ve added them.
Most of these COVID-19 memorials are from searching St. Louis obituaries for the ones that say that the person passed way from COVID-19 or from complications of COVID-19. This is a drastic undercount and misrepresentation of demographics, especially regarding people of color and impoverished people, for many reasons including cultural and financial (poor people often do not have the money to place a paid obituary).
I truly hate writing About pages.
I built and started this site on 6/18/2020
What prompted my idea for St. Louis Covid Memorial was waiting for a socially distanced internet date to pick up food while we dined on a South Grand patio on June 14. I opened my phone to idlly look at Twitter, and saw The City’s memorial to people in New York City who lost their lives to COVID-19.
By the time he was seated with our food, I had purchased this domain from my phone and couldn’t wait to get home to write down the idea to create this memorial for people in St. Louis who have died of COVID-19 and see if anyone else had started something similar that I could help with.
Throughout this whole awful pandemic, I’ve felt really horrible for not doing more to help out. I’m fortunate enough to still have full time employment. Like most people, I can’t afford to donate much financially. I’ve been taking physical distancing seriously, wearing a mask in public, not seeing elderly or immunocompromised friends, only running to the grocery store a few times a month, and avoiding nonessential anything. The outlets to volunteer simply aren’t there.
It worries me that we are becoming numb to the numbers of Coronavirus deaths. It bothers me that other events in history have had more community compassion and solidarity to fight whatever was killing us. People who die of COVID-19 should not become mere statistical numbers. Each person who is no longer with us for any reason (but specifically COVID-19 for this site) loved and was loved by others. Their and our humanity cannot be forgotten as the number of deaths rises.
I’m Jessica, as the email suggests. In the past I’ve built WordPress websites, sold vintage clothing, done all kinds of photography, and helped launch a grocery store. As of mid-April I’m working in sales support for a company in the construction industry.
I moved to St. Louis in 2009, fell in love with the people and city here, and accomplished my longterm goal of buying my first house (in South St. Louis City) at the end of 2018.
It deeply bothers me that people too often die alone of COVID-19. It gives me a knot in my stomach to imagine families having funerals without the physical closeness of their extended networks of friends, church, and community.
Building St. Louis Covid Memorial, pouring through news articles and social media posts to find the stories about the people in St. Louis who have died of COVID-19, has been a great outlet for me to feel useful in all this chaos of the raging pandemic.
I hope that StLouisCovidMemorial imparts a moving experience and powerful reminder of the humanity behind the St. Louis COVID-19 death toll.
If the food had not been delayed and if my socially distanced internet date had not taken so long getting it, this site might not exist.
PS: I can use all the help I can get, and love networking and connecting others, so feel free to reach out by filling out the contact form or emailing me directly!
PPS: I will totally “open-source” this site design (but not the content) if you want to build your own local memorial. It’s a highly customized child theme that I made on the Divi Theme framework by ElegantThemes. Making the home page a filterable, sortable, searchable, “wall” incorporated Advanced Custom Fields (free) and Divi FilterGrid ($29).