Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings, a high school physical education teacher in East St. Louis IL (district 189) died of COVID-19 on April 16, 2020.

Less than a year before her untimely death from coronavirus, Kim had helped the Flyerettes of East St. Louis win the Illinois Class 2A state championship (in May 2019), their first state championship since 2011. She worked as a physical education teacher and a track and field coach for many years.

Kim Jennings touched countless lives as a teacher and coach. She undoubtedly imparted values and ideals of teamwork, facing adversity, and practicing to reach top performance to thousands of children during her time as a teacher. She was vivacious and was looking forward to more years working in her vocation.

“When I would bring my Granddaughter, Jaleah out to practice, I’m looking to see the man, Coach Fennoy. Jaleah would say to me, PaPa, we don’t need the man, there’s Coach Jennings. Coach Jennings did so much for the kids. She also taught me to stay out of the way. COACH will be missed. We all loved you.”

Larry T Hampton Sr
Posted Apr 30, 2020 at 04:36pm to Kim Jennings’ obituary

Kim Jennings is missed deeply by her family, friends, and the thousands of lives she touched over her many years as a teacher.


Ruth Kathryn Mathews Gay

Ruth Katheryn Mathews Gay St. Louis COVID-19 death

Ruth Kathryn Mathews Gay passed from complications of COVID-19 on April 17, 2020 at the age of 74 while at Life Care Nursing Facility. One of her daughters was allowed to be visit while wearing protective gear. Her family sent the memorial below:

Obituary of Ruth Kathryn Mathews Gay (November 1, 1945 – April 17, 2020)
Ruth Kathryn Mathews Gay was born in St. Louis, MO on November 1, 1945 to Henry and Ruth Mathews. Family and friends affectionately addressed her as Ruth Kathryn, though she preferred to be called Ruth. Her parents (Henry and Ruth Mathews), husband, Albert W. (Al Sanders) Gay, Jr. and her granddaughter, Jade Aaliyah Valdes preceded her in death.

Her maternal grandmother, Rosebud Turner, made sure she attended the historic Antioch Baptist Church regularly. At the age of ten she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior and was baptized. Ruth participated in the Children’s Choir, the Girls Auxiliary, and the Baptist Youth Fellowship at the church.

Ruth graduated from Beaumont High School in 1963.She attended the University of Missouri in Columbia and became a civil rights activist. While there she participated in marches and sit-ins. When Ruth left Mizzou, she married her knight in shining amour; Albert Gay, Jr. known professionally as Scoop Sanders on radio station, KXLW in St. Louis. In 1970, their first son, Brandon C. Gay was born. Soon afterwards, Albert’s career took his new family to Baltimore, MD where he became a TV news anchor on Channel 13-WJZ. There they expanded their family with two additional children, Christopher M. Gay and Tisha K. Gay.

In Columbia, MD, Ruth was a devoted homemaker for thirty years. She chauffeured her children and their friends to their various extra-curricular activities ranging from soccer and football to equestrian training. She was a true sports mom. During the 70’s and 80’s, she was active in the PTA and volunteered in classrooms and in the library at Thunder Hill Elementary School. Ruth and Albert enjoyed their life on the east coast. They traveled frequently to New York, Las Vegas, the Bahamas, Philadelphia, and Ocean City, MD. They loved playing bid whist, listening to music, and spending time with their friends. Ruth was an excellent cook and hosted many scrumptious lunches and dinners for family and friends. In her spare time, she bowled with a league and every Thursday for more than ten years she volunteered at the Howard County Center of African American Culture, Inc. founded by the late Mrs. Wylene Burch.

In 1995, after a brief battle with lung cancer, her beloved husband, Albert, passed away. Five years later, Ruth relocated to her birthplace, St. Louis, MO and joined Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church. In 2002, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, yet she continued to travel, play cards with a St. Louis bid whist card club and was welcomed by the Ford School retired friends birthday club. Ruth was always pleasant, displayed a sweet smile and generously shared whatever she had with others. She had a great sense of humor and often left one with a puzzled smile!

Ruth contracted the Coronavirus while at Life Care Nursing facility and transitioned peacefully on April 17, 2020. She leaves a lifetime of fond memories to be treasured by her children, Brandon C. Gay (Angela) of Warren, MI; Christopher Gay of St. Louis, MO; and Tisha Gay of Brandon, FL; her sister, Rosalynde Scott of St. Louis; niece, Dr. Harriette Scott Dudley of Boston, MA; and nephew, William Henry Scott (Colleen) of Dallas, TX; five grandchildren, Xavier Matthew Valdes, twins, Lia and Lauryn Benning, Brandon Stanley Gay, Lucas Michael Gomez, and a host of family and friends.

Mr. Edward Hellm, Jr.

Edward Hellm Jr. died of COVID-19 on April 27, 2020 at the age of 69. He was a veteran who’d served our country, a loving father and husband, and a retiree with lots of friends. He died alone in the hospital on a ventilator.

Edward (Eddie) Hellm, Jr., a 69 year old African American Father of four sons; Husband, Veteran, Retiree & Realtor was fighting the biggest battle of his life – the pandemic infused Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. On 3/27/20, Mr. Hellm, Jr. visited his primary care Dr. Michael Spezia (near Lucas-Hunt/Natural Bridge Rd.) with complaints of chills and body aches.  He was told to rest & prescribed Claritin!  3 days later with the urging of his wife, Eddie called in an uproar about how much pain he was having & chills.  He was prescribed an antibiotic & cough medicine with no testing, despite his doctor knowing of other underlying health conditions.  The Hellms called the COVID-19 hotline twice expressing their concerns & was told to continue the meds as he most likely had strep throat!  These are horrifying examples of disservice which leads to mistrust by black people of those we are expected to entrust our lives to.

3 days later, Mrs. Hellm drove her husband to the ER at Progress West Hospital near their home in O’Fallon, MO.  He was immediately sedated, intubated with the ventilator & tested for the virus.  24 hours later results revealed that he was in-fact POSITIVE!  2 days later (04/05/20), Eddie was transported by ambulance to Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJC) to their Intensive Care Unit (ICU).  His family is not able to be at his side, but are allowed sporadic video viewings of him via text alerts.  Every hospital should follow the Louisiana examples of palliative/hospice care which allows family to visit critically ill coronavirus patients with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

from Black Corona Lives Matter on A Red Circle

Eddie is missed deeply by his wife, adult kids, grandkids, family, many friends, and all those who knew him.


Audrey “Yasmine” Ruiz-Smith

Audrey “Yasmine” Ruiz-Smith died of Covid-19 on April 7, 2020 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. She was 56.

Audrey was a member of the St. Louis Japanese Society and the Dances of Universal Peace.  She was a creative, vibrant, woman who was passionate about social justice causes and improving the lives of everyone. Audrey made a lot of friends in life and touched countless more through her art and activism.

Audrey “Yasmine” Ruiz-Smith is missed deeply by her daughters Taylor and Sally, by her shih-tzu, and by her large circle of friends and fans.

Audrey fell ill with COVID-19 in late March and was quickly placed on a ventilator. She got the best care possible at BJC.
From Facebook – Audrey “Yasmine” Ruiz-Smith died of COVID-19


Mrs. Evelyn Otis

Mrs. Evelyn Otis passed from COVID-19 complications in O’Fallon Illinois on April 28, 2020. She was 74 years old.

Evelyn retired from Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville IL in late 2017 and was finally enjoying retirement. She was known for enthusiastically living life to the fullest, and loved cooking, fishing, and her family.

She’s missed by her 3 adult kids, her elderly mother, two brothers, six grandchildren, and lots of extended family and friends.


Lt. Colonel Gregory R. Hawkins

Lt. Colonel Gregory R. Hawkins death

Lt. Colonel Gregory R. Hawkins passed from complications of COVID-19 in late April 2020 at the age of 71. When he retired in 2007, he was the highest ranking African American at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He served our City for nearly 40 years, working his way up from cadet in 1968 to ultimately the position of Lieutenant Colonel and deputy chief, commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Bureau of Auxiliary Services.

Gregory Hawkins played a major role in revitalizing the Department’s Police Athletic League (P.A. L.),  whose mission is “.. to provide a positive and constructive environment through sports and activities for our St. Louis youth to grow and develop, keep them safe, and ensure that they choose a positive path for their future. We fill playgrounds, not prisons“.

Gregory Hawkins was also active in Dismas House Community Relations Board, and Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS). He never stopped serving the St. Louis community, and was active in helping out until he his death.

From (ARCHS):

ARCHS is deeply saddened by the COVID-19 related passing of one of our founding board members – Lt. Col. Gregory Hawkins.

Lt. Col. Hawkins was a 40-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (OFFICIAL). As a member of ARCHS’ Board Executive Committee, he provided an unwavering commitment to community service. ARCHS’ board and staff will fondly remember his strategic counsel, jovial nature, and flair for fashion. Condolences to his many family and friends.

Lt. Colonel Gregory R. Hawkins is missed deeply by his wife, three grown kids, extended family, his friends and colleagues at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and ARCHS, and all the countless children and families whose lives he touched.


John William Kolditz

John W. Kolditz passed away of COVID-19 on April 3, 2020. He was 85 years old. Kolditz was the first Franklin County death attributed to COVID-19, and the first resident of Grand View Health Center in Washington MO to die of the virus. John had just returned to Grandview Nursing Home in Washington MO on March 21 to recover after having surgery on one of his legs that had been broken in a recent fall. He was showing clear symptoms of COVID-19 by March 26, at which point it was spreading around the nursing home. It’s unclear if he caught the novel coronavirus in the emergency room, at the hospital, or in the nursing home.

John’s family was able to gather outside the window at Grand Manor to wave, and talk with him on the phone until his breathing became too difficult. They passed messages to him through the staff, but he was soon unable to respond. A nurse stayed with him and held his hand in his final hours and moments, which brought his wife of 63 years much comfort.

John Kolditz served in the Airforce National Guard before marrying Minnie, the love of his life. He worked as a polymer engineer in Alton Illinois for most of his life. He proudly held the patent on a plastic material used in brake fluid reservoirs. John raised five children with Minnie, and loved taking the family on camping trips where he’d take lots of family photos. He is remembered as being a supportive husband, a loving father, and a great friend.

John W. Kolditz is missed deeply by his wife, his children, his large extended family, and those who were fortunate enough to know him.


Gene Rice

Gene Rice COVID-19 deatha

Gene Rice of Waterloo Illinois died of COVID-19 on April 6, 2020 at the age of 83. He was Monroe County’s first known death from COVID-19.

Gene grew up in the Cahokia area, attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and married his best friend Nancy in 1957. They raised their kids while he worked at the Monsanto Krummrich Plant in Sauget, IL for 30 years before retiring.

He loved taking his family on trips to different lakes, camping, water skiing, playing music, ballroom dancing with his wife, and socializing with friends. Gene was also an ordained deacon at Westview Baptist Church in Belleville, and active in his church community. He loved his family – both immediate and extended, and he loved life. Gene is remembered for always having words of encouragement for anyone he was around.

As one of his friends posted on Facebook: “Another reminder that this is real and affects all of us in a crushing way. I encourage everyone who knew Gene to pay him tribute in death and wear a mask and save lives. ?

Gene Rice is missed deeply by Nancy his wife of 63 years, his children and extended family, his family friends who were like family to him, his church family, and anyone who was lucky enough to know him in any way.


Armella “Millie” Katherine Chisholm

Armella “Millie” Chisholm died of COVID-19 on April 14th 2020 at Grandview Health Center in Washington MO, sister facility to the elder-care home (Cedarcrest Manor) that she’d worked at many years as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She was 93 years old.

In the post-WWII years Millie married her first husband, Clarence, who she had 10 children with. After his passing, Millie was able to find love again. She was married to Harry Chisholm for about 8 years until his death in 2000.

In her retirement, Millie volunteered with the VFW, attended dances, musicals, family events, and became an avid quilter and crafter (check out her obituary for some pictures of her quilts). She kept a very busy social life, and even when dementia set in, she still enjoyed socializing with other residents and staff.

Millie’s children in the Washington MO area and with their families were very active in visiting her every day at Grandview after dementia caused her to need full time care. Her family doesn’t fault the care facility; as one of her daughters told the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

“It was unimaginable that the staff was able to deliver meals to patients everywhere in the facility, to help feed all of those who needed assistance, and to still attend to their regular needs,” she said. “Added to this was an unprecedented volume of calls from family members asking for updates. No nursing home can be staffed or prepared for such an abrupt change to their entire protocol.”

Armilla “Millie” Chisholm is missed deeply by her large extended family, the staff and other residents at Grandview Manor Nursing Home, and the countless lives she touched volunteering and as her vocation as a nurse.


Dolly Naomi Hood

Dolly Naomi Hood of St. Peters, died of COVID-19 on April 10, 2020 at the age of 80. She was recovering from a stroke at The Landing of O’Fallon where she started having trouble breathing and was taken to the ER on April 2. She passed 8 days later in the hospital ICU. Her husband and lifelong companion wrote on her obituary page, “the hardest part was that I could not be with her during any of it.”

Until 2008, Dolly worked in the Francis Howell School District where she touched countless lives. In her retirement, she was a gifted gardener who won awards in every show she entered. She also loved creating beadwork and doing other crafts. She was a compassionate friend who always had time to listen, and loved having lunches with her retired teacher friends. Most of all, Dolly was a devoted mother who always put her family first.

Dolly Naomi Hood is missed deeply by her husband who she was married to for 62 years, her two adult children, grandchildren, her extended family, her many friends, garden club, church, and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.


James Edward “Jimmy” Evans

James Edward Jimmy Evans COVID-19 nursing home death

James Edward “Jimmy” Evans died on April 6, 2020 of COVID-19 at the age of 82. He fell ill with coronavirus while at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles, MO and within a few days was rushed to the hospital where he died alone.

The only mention of Jimmy Evan’s life or death that I could find was in the St. Louis Post Dispatch (STLToday) article cited below. Read it for the full heartbreaking story.


‘No dignity’: Forced apart by coronavirus, families of nursing home dead left in the dark –, April 20 

corrected 11/12/2020 with info from neice (he had autism diagnosed in adulthood, not Alzheimer’s).

Bruce R. Mausshardt

Bruce R Mausshardt COVID-19 death

Bruce R. Mausshardt died of COVID-19 on April 20, 2020 at the age of 68 years old. A keyboardist, piano player, and all around musician since he first learned to tickle the ivories at 5 years old, Bruce had played in several bands over the years. He also loved everything about St. Louis from with his favorites being World Wide Magazine, Forest Park, Elicia’s pizza, and Mom’s Deli. Bruce suffered from Alzheimer’s the past 11 years but could respond to his favorite songs, “air piano”, and mouth out the words.

Bruce Mausshardt is missed by his wife of 38 years, his daughter, his step-daughter, his adopted niece, extended family, and everyone who got to hear him play music or knew him as a friend.


Maureen Dale Rudman

Maureen Dale “Momo” Rudman died of complications from COVID-19 on April 26, 2020. She was 79 years old.

She was born and raised here in St. Louis, and got her Masters Degree in Education at Washington University. She had a “larger than life” flare for living and beautiful things, and saw the true beauty in everyone she met. She believed first and foremost that all people are beautiful and she truly lived this. Maureen was eclectic, authentic, and the life of any gathering she attended.

Maureen Rudman is missed dearly by her 9 grandchildren, her children, and everyone who was fortunate enough to get to know her.


Patrick Wayne Vadnais

Patrick Wayne Vadnais COVID-19 death St. Charles

Patrick Wayne Vadnais of St. Charles MO died of COVID-19 complications on April 8, 2020 at the age of 70. He was musically inclined and wrote songs, played piano and guitar, sang, and passed his knowledge onto younger folks.

Patrick Vadnais is missed by his daughter, step-father, brothers and sisters, extended family and friends.


Rosie Mae Walker

Rosie Mae Walker passed at Saint Louis University Hospital of COVID-19 with her family watching via video on their phones and iPads on April 9, 2020 at the age of 87. It’s thought that she caught COVID-19 at a family BBQ in early March after which several family members became ill; one of her sons was still recovering at another hospital when he found out she was dying alone.

Rosie Walker was the family matriarch, with 15 children of her own and a tremendously large extended family including two great-great grandchildren. She was widowed twice and retired to St. Claire Illinois to be close to family and joined the Mount Moriah COGIC in Centreville. Rosie would give her heart and soul to help anyone in need.

Rosie was known for making mouthwatering soulfood dishes for potlucks, large early morning breakfasts, and delicious holiday meals that included neighbors and anyone who was lucky enough to go to the same event that she was at. She loved seeing people happy and always had a joke or witticism to brighten the mood up.

Rosie is missed by her large family, her church family, and anyone who was fortunate enough to know her.


Howard W. Marshall

Howard W. Marshall St. Charles COVID-19 death

Howard Marshall passed of COVID-19 on April 10, 2020 in his room at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles. Although he had Alzheimers and couldn’t use the phone by himself, he still recognized his family and used a wheelchair to get around. He was 79 years old.

Howard came down with a fever and was tested for COVID-19 on April 1, got the results back on April 6th but didn’t have any respiratory symptoms. Suddenly on April 9, his family was told that he was near death. When his family finally were able to set up a video call that day, he was unresponsive and they were told he was sleeping. The next morning the nursing home told his family that his fever had passed and he seemed to be doing better, and his family looked forward to videochatting with him in the afternoon. Howard Marshall was dead by 7pm on April 10.

“He was always there for everyone,” his stepdaughter told the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “At the end he was all alone.”

“And the way that it happened, there is just no dignity in the way that he died. There was no respect for him or his family.”

‘No dignity’: Forced apart by coronavirus, families of nursing home dead left in the dark –, April 20 

Howard Marshall belonged to the Carpenter’s Union Local #1310 and worked installing floors until his retirement. He loved watching documentaries, fishing, working on his car, and helping his friends out. He was known for being a gentle, kind, man. He’s missed deeply by his children, stepchildren, extended family, and large circle of friends.


Carol Junior “CJ” Parkinson

Carol Junior “CJ” Parkinson died of complications from COVID-19 on April 30, 2020. He was 80 years old.

CJ grew up in Iowa, graduating college and going on to become a memorable band teacher. He moved to St. Louis in the early 80s with his second wife and retired after managing a local health food store.

Carol Parkinson is missed by his daughter, sisters, nephews, former band students, and countless friends that he made both in St. Louis and Iowa.