R. Richard Straub died of COVID-19 after a brief battle with the virus on November 24, 2020 at the age of 88.
Dick grew up in Webster Groves, graduated with honors from Princeton University, and served as 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After his time in the military, he moved back to St. Louis and completed his J.D. at Washington University with the Order of the Coif. Dick raised his two girls with his beloved wife while he practiced corporate law at Lewis Rice. At the age of 48 he had a major stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body but fortunately left his sharp mind fully intact. In this early retirement Dick threw himself into volunteering and supporting worthy causes (including providing free legal counsel via SCORE, tutoring children, and helping other stroke victims), living life to the fullest (and still golfing, with the use of only one arm). In 2014 he moved from his home of 50 years to The Gatesworth extended care facility.
R. Richard Straub is missed deeply by his wife of 65 years, his two adult daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family, friends at The Gatesworth, and all who knew him.
Michael Madison of Freeburg IL died of COVID-19 complications at the age of 68 on November 16, 2020. His wife Connie got to go into his room, hold his hand, and say goodbye to him at Belleville Memorial Hospital, as her mother continues to fight coronavirus (but as of this writing is still alive).
Michael was enjoying retirement with his adoring wife of 8 years, and finally getting to take a break from working so hard his whole life. He served in the US Military and his faith was important to his personal strength and life.
Michael Madison is missed deeply by his wife, his son, grandchildren, extended family and circle of friends.
Elizabeth Quinn, a WWII military veteran from England who emigrated as a war bride and made St. Louis her home, died of complications from COVID-19 on November 13, 2020 at the age of 94.
According to her obituary, “During WWII, she joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1943 at age 18, serving at Bletchley Park with the codebreakers (without divulging that work to anyone including her family until secrecy was lifted in the 1970’s).” She met her “Yank soldier” John at a dance during the war, married in 1945, and soon after landing in St. Louis she became a U.S. Citizen. They traveled the USA together, and had lots of adventures over their 63 years together.
Elizabeth had a lifelong love of reading, serving as librarian on the first St. Louis County bookmobile in 1948-49 after the birth of her son, and working as a librarian for 35 more years until she retired. In her later years Elizabeth was still an avid reader and used the library’s mobile services, coming very full circle when her photo was placed on the side of a new St. Louis County bookmobile.
She was laid to rest in a private ceremony next to her late husband at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Elizabeth Quinn is missed deeply by her large and diverse extended family, her many friends, and all those who she helped spark the joy of reading in.
Cheldron “Marty” Fox, a WWII Army Veteran who participated in Day 3 of the Normandy Invasion, died from COVID-19 on June 20, 2020 at the age of 100. He’d enjoyed swing dancing, golf, and kept active well into his 90s. He was loved for his quick smile and kind heart.
Cheldron Fox is missed deeply by his surviving adult children, grand children, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and his extended family and friends.
George Lee Chartrand died from COVID-19 on June 1, 2020 at the age of 90 in a St. Louis nursing home.
Lee was a Korean War veteran, having served our country in the Airforce as an airplane mechanic. He retired “early” from McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and began his third career as an antiques dealer and ice-cream shop owner. He was an active member of the Freemasons and rose to the rank of Worshipful Master. Lee was truly a “master of all trades”.
Lee and his late wife (Jo, whom he was married to for 65 years until her death) loved spending their retirement in their bit paradise, down by Troy Missouri. There the family spent days catching crawdads, splashing in the creek, bbq-ing, fishing, telling ghost stories around the camp fire, and bird watching. Lee was a gifted story teller, and would regale his grandchildren with fun memories including his favorites of when he was a race-car driver with his brother. He loved music, taught himself to play piano, and was in his element when entertaining.
George Lee Chartrand is missed deeply by his 7 children, 18 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren who he adored. He’s also missed by his Masonic brothers and family, his many friends, community, and the many many people whose lives he brightened while he was alive.
William Edward “Ed” Gorman died from complications of COVID-19 on September 10, 2020 at the age of 91. He caught the virus while he was resident at White Hall Nursing and Rehab Center in White Hall, Illinois.
Ed served with the US Army in the Korean War and afterwards worked as a plumber for the University of Delaware for 26 years. He and his wife moved to Brighton Illinois in 2011 to be closer to family. They had just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary when COVID-19 took his life.
William Edward Gorman is missed deeply by his wife, numerous nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.
William “Bill” C. Robertson of Fosterburg, Illinois died from COVID-19 on September 9, 2020 at Alton Memorial Hospital. He was 88 years old and left behind his wife and soulmate of 64 years.
Bill was an Airforce veteran and worked at Albrecht Hamlin Chevrolet until he retired in 1996. At work, he was a team player, helping others and mentoring. Bill was an active member of Fosterburg Baptist Church for the last 56 years, serving as Deacon and Trustee. He also taught Sunday school and vacation bible school, and always had candy to give to the kids.
Bill C. Roberts is deeply missed by his wife Virginia, their son and daughter, grand-kids, and great-grandkids. His church family misses him terribly.
Ralph Struckhoff died of COVID-19 on September 11th, 2020 at the age of 74. As far as he or his family knew he was perfectly healthy and had the body and mind of someone much younger. He and his wife were looking forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in October (and many more happy anniversaries after that), but now they cannot.
Ralph served our country in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967 after which he married the love of his life, Jayne. They settled in Augusta where they raised their two children while he worked worked as a Union carpenter, Local 97, for Lauer Construction. He was a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Augusta, the Knights of Columbus, and American Legion Post 262 in Augusta. Ralph enjoyed lots of things, but especially Christmas when he’d decorate the house and take extra cheer. He was always there to help a neighbor with a home project, listen to a friend, or to spend quality time making memories with his grandkids.
Ralph is deeply missed by his wife Jayne, his kids, grandkids, extended family, church family, American Legion and Knights of Columbus family, and all his many friends. His family is grateful to the nurses, doctors, and hospital staff who tried their best to save his life.
(note: I’m unclear on if Ralph Struckhoff is related to Paul Struckhoff, also of Augusta MO, who died of COVID-19 on April 28… I’m guessing they’re related but nothing I’ve found explicitly states this).
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).
Billie “Jack” McDermott of Bethalto Illinois died of COVID-19 after a lengthy battle with the virus on September 4, 2020 at Alton Memorial Hospital. He was 81.
Billie proudly served our country in the National Guard and retired from Laclede Steel (now Alton Steel) after 42 years as an electrician. He was a member of the United Steel Workers Union and served as a shop steward for many years. He was a lifetime Democrat and a member of various Church of Christ churches. Especially in his retirement, Billie enjoyed watching his grandsons in their sports, spending time at Lake of the Ozarks, fishing, family pets, and watching old westerns.
Billie McDermott is missed deeply by his wife of 59 years, his two children, grandchildren, family, extended family and all his friends.
Dr. Frank E. Siefried, D.D.S., died of COVID-19 on July 24, 2020 in a nursing home.
Frank was originally from St. Louis, went to St. Louis University Dental School and was in private practice in Deerfield, IL for over 40 years before moving back to St. Louis. Professionally, he was known for his skill and gentle touch as a dentist. More important than any of his career achievements (which included serving in our military), Frank was a loving father and husband. He was quick to joke and laugh, or to tell a fascinating story. He loved taking his family on adventures and vacations, spending quality time with his grandkids, and making those around him smile.
Frank spent his last years in St. Louis retired and consummately in love with his wife Bonnie. She cared for him until his health failed and he moved into a skilled nursing facility (where they became friends with Richard “RC” Bartholic and his wife). After the “COVID-19 lockdown” started and residents were put into isolation, Bonnie went to visit him every day through his room’s window and brought food and nutritious shakes for the staff to feed him.
Bonnie wrote, “This lock out of families did not protect the most vulnerable, rather isolated them and left them. There surely must be a better way of dealing in the future. The only peace I have is that he is no longer suffering in that place. This is a terrible, inhumane way of treating our elderly with no recourse.”
Frank is missed deeply by Bonnie his wife, his children and extended family, and friends from all walks of life who were fortunate enough to know him.
This was a contact from a close friend/family (wife)
Larry Darnell Parker Sr. passed of COVID-19 on July 24, 2020. He was a 62 year old retired Navy Veteran and married for 43 years. When he died Larry was still a machinist for GKN Aerospace (formerly Boeing), where he had worked for 37 years.
Larry was a genuine person who never complained and never met a person he didn’t like. He balanced raising his family (three sons and a daughter) with working full time and spending one weekend a month in the Navy Reserves. Larry loved golf, jazz concerts, and traveling with his wife… but what he loved more than anything was spending time with his grandchildren.
Larry Darnell Parker St. leaves behind his brokenhearted wife, four children, seven grandchildren, and is missed dearly by his family and many friends.
This was a contact from a close friend/family (sister in-law)
Reginald Gladney died July 30, 2020 of COVID-19. He was 56 years old. Reginald served in the United States Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force for 21 years and retired a decorated veteran. After military retirement, he went onto a second career, working for in civil process as a St. Louis County Sheriff’s Deputy for 11 years and security for 17+ years with the St. Louis Blues Association.
More than his impressive career, Reginald was a mentor, friend, and father. He loved life, his family, and truly saw the beauty in other people. He took his joy from helping make life a little better for those blessed to know or even casually encounter him.
As his obituary so eloquently put it: “If you’ve ever been to a STL Blues game there is a very good chance you met our father Reggie. To our father, meeting people and being a joy bringer was something to look forward to. People are a valuable treasure and he treasured his Tribe. Reggie, modeled himself to his favorite superheros Superman and Batman. He believed in goodness. He believed that every person is superhuman and had the ability to do good or harm. He believed in conscious choices, deliberate intentions, and grace. Our father believed in people and chose to live a life of service. If you haven’t guessed, our fathers love language was Acts of Service and he spoke it loudly. He practiced goodness, consciously, daily. His goodness was infectious. His smile was bigger than his face could contain. He had an expansive chest with massive pythons for arms. He could give a hug that enveloped your entire being. His deep belly laughter was the soundtrack to many special moments, as were his frequent threats of bodily harm, playful teasing, and random dancing. To our father you were his brother, sister, daughter, son, child, or sunshine. The greeting was a reminder, you were his family…
…He was humble, gentle, and kind. Our father was a cultivator of joy. Everyone blessed with an encounter with Reggie, all became happier, healthier, better versions of ourselves because of his joy.”
If the point of life is to touch as many lives as possible, making them better, and bringing joy to your corner of the world, Reginald Gladney accomplished this.
Reginald Gladney is missed deeply by his three children, close-knit family, and the entire St. Louis region where he inspired and moved too many people to count.
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.
Melvin Solomon died from complications of COVID-19 on May 14, 2020 at Memorial Hospital in Belleville IL. At 90 years old, he was a WWII veteran and had earned the World War II Victory Medal for his service. After the war, he and his wife Phyllis raised their family, while Melvin worked 30 years at the United States Post Office serving as a letter carrier (ultimately working his way up to supervisor). He also moonlighted as a taxi cab driver, and had lots of stories to tell from doing that!
Mel and his wife retired to Las Vegas where they had lots of fun. Phyllis passed away and soon after, Melvin moved to Grand Manor in Swansea Illinois to be close to his granddaughter. He kept his sharp wit and liked jokes (both dirty and clean), BINGO, garlic powder, and learning new things.
Melvin Solomon is remembered as a kind and generous friend and as a loving father and grandpa. He’s missed by his family and everyone who knew him every day.
WWII Veteran William D. “Bill” Baker, died May 1, 2020 at Edwardsville Care Center of complications related from COVID-19. He was 96.
BIll served in the US Army as an amphibious engineer in the South Pacific under Admiral Halsey during WWII. He also served in major assaults on Morotai Island in Indonesia, in the Netherlands, the East Indies, Lingayen Gulf on Luzon in the Philippine Islands, and eventually in Osaka, Japan.
After his honorable discharge from the military, Bill married his sweetheart June (who passed in 1996) and began his large family (raising 13 children in all). He retired after a long career at the US Post Office in 1984.
Bill loved to take his family on camping trips, playing any card game (especially poker and pinochle), and the Chicago Cubs. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family.
Bill is deeply missed by his 12 surviving children, 90 great-grandchildren, and 19 great-great-grandchildren… and all his neighbors and friends that he made over his long life.
James Rufkahr, a WWII veteran, died on June 1, 2020 from COVID-19 at the age of 94 in St. Charles. He grew up on a farm in rural Wright City during the Great Depression. After serving our country in the US Army in World War II, James worked at Ford Motor Company in Hazelwood for 30 years while he raised his family.
After retiring, James worked as a bus drive and handyman for another 17 years. He volunteered with his church, Sts. John and James in Ferguson, and delivered for Meals on Wheels. James was always athletic, participating in the Senior Olympics and ballroom dancing with his wife. He’s remembered for his big friendly smile and giving nature.
James “Chick” Rufkahr is missed by his two daughters, great grandsons, large extended family, church family, and all those who knew and loved him.
Frank Massey, passed of COVID-19 on April 17, 2020 five days after his 68th birthday. He had been married 20 years and had seven children. He served four years in the military as a Marine. After he retired from commercial truck driving, his passion for kids let him to become a school bus driver at the Belleville Township High School District 201.
Frank’s grieving wife gave an emotional interview with News Channel 5 on Your Side on April 18th:
“I want people to know that coronavirus is not a joke. It is not a hoax and it is definitely not fake news because I’m living the nightmare,” Cynthia said.
Frank Massey is missed by his children, grandchildren, extended family, all the kids he drove to and from school and events, and the Greater St. Mark COGIC family.
Clifford Russell Youngstrom passed away on May 15, 2020 in hospice care at St. Luke’s Hospital after a courageous battle with COVID-19. Due to restrictions, his loved ones were unable to be at his side, but they spoke continuously with him phone to let him know their love and support. He was 93 years old.
Clifford was born and raised in St. Louis. He proudly served in WWII and, as his obituary states:
In January 1944 he enlisted in the US Navy to fight in World War II. He shipped out to the Pacific and was assigned as 20mm gunner on the destroyer escort USS CROWLEY (DE303). His ship operated with the Third Fleet and went through the devastating “Typhoon Cobra” in December 1944. He later saw action at the battles of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. At war’s end he witnessed the signing of the Japanese surrender, his ship moored in Tokyo Bay near USS MISSOURI
After the war, he volunteered to accompany test ships that were taken to be used in “Operation Crossroads” (Bikini Bomb Tests), and witnessed both nuclear detonations.
He married his wife after he got out of the military in 1947. They raised their family while he worked at the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC). After raising their family, Cliff and his wife helped elderly members of their family during the last years of their lives.
Clifford Youngstrom is deeply missed by his wife of 72 years, his children, grandchildren, and his extended family.
Alvin George Edgell was enjoying his golden years in health at Alexian Brothers Landsdowne Village close to his family when he was struck with COVID-19, over 6 weeks after the nursing home locked down to visitors in an effort to prevent the novel coronavirus. Still very mentally sharp, he was using email to communicate until his last days. Al died on May 4th at the age of 96 with his son, a doctor at the hospital, by his side.
Al had a tremendously adventurous life, which is eloquently detailed in his obituary and public radio story linked in the sources below. A conscientious objector to WWII, his plea was rejected and he served as a medic in a non-combat role. He subsequently served in the Korean War. Al built his career around his passion, doing development work around the world.
In 1986 Al retired from Save The Children. When his wife retired they moved to St. Louis to be closer to their adult children and grandchildren. Al quickly became active in the St. Louis Ethical Society and gave speeches to other groups about world affairs. He published a memoir “Hindseeing: A Life in the World” under the pseudonym Bertram Clive Beardsley.
Alvin George Edgell is missed deeply by his wife of 50 years, his adult children, extended family, and everyone whose lives he touched.