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.
Joyce Octavia Lakes was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 on April 2, and passed after a lengthy and exhaustive battle with the coronavirus on June 26, 2020. She was 73 years old.
Joyce worked 30 years for Southwestern Bell after withdrawing from college following the death of her father. Despite challenges in her life, she poured her heart into raising her two children. Joyce somehow always found time for what was important to her; and cultivating authentic relationships tied her busy and varied hobbies together. She was active in various church groups and with different hobbies from crochet and gardening to dancing, singing and (especially) bowling. Joyce was positive, empathetic, and would give her last dollar to help out a friend in need.
Joyce Lakes is deeply missed by her daughter, son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, extended family, church family, work family, and anyone who was fortunate enough to pass through her wide social circle.
Her daughter and daughter-in-law both publicly posted about her long and horrific battle with COVID-19 on Facebook below. Every available option to save her life was exhausted over her 2+ month long battle with the novel coronavirus and hope of a full recovery was not lost until she passed over.
This was a contact from a close friend/family (daughter in-law)
Lamar had just turned 81 on March 18, 2020. Due to COVID-19 this was the first time ever his family was not with him to celebrate his special day. Lamar was diagnosed with COVID-19 around June 15th and lost the battle on June 30, 2020.
Reflecting on his life, our father enjoyed fishing and spending time with his family. His family meant the world to him, he was the oldest son of nine and he wore that title well. He was known to everyone as brother and he never met a stranger.
God blessed and allowed his daughters, son in law and his grandchildren to be by his side his last four hours here on earth. We were able to pray with him, we shared wonderful memories and played some of his favorite songs. Saying goodbye is NEVER easy but knowing we were there with him till the end did lighten the load. Gone but never forgotten.
Love you always, Lamar’s Girls
— the above was written and sent in by one of Lamar’s daughters.
This was a contact from a close friend/family (daughter)
Mitch Coleman succumbed to COVID-19 on June 29, 2020 after valiantly fighting the virus for over a month. He was 58 years old. Mitch was a warmhearted man and brightened any room just by being in it.
His widowed wife submitted this memorial and wrote: “Mitch Coleman was a follower of Jesus, an amazing husband and father of two, a maintenance worker at The School District of Clayton, and all around great guy. He knew no stranger and loved to make people laugh. He had a fabulous smile and was loved by many. He lived in Arnold, MO with his wife, Kim. In May of 2020 he contracted COVID-19 and spent 30 days in ICU on a ventilator and ECMO machine. On June 29, 2020 he lost his fight to this horrible disease that caused so many health complications. He was only 58 years old and he will always be missed by his family and friends.”
Mitch Coleman is deeply mourned by his wife, children, family, coworkers at the Clayton School District, the children and families who knew him, and absolutely everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.
Dr. Ruth Louise Beckmann Murray, Ed.D, MSN, RN, CS, N-NAP, DAPA, passed from complications of COVID-19 and pneumonia on June 25, 2020 at the age of 84. Ruth continued her education throughout her life, starting with her nursing degree in 1957 from Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, getting her Masters Degree from Washington University in 1967 in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing – Focus on individual and group counseling & crisis training, and finally her EdD from Southern Illinois University in 1983. Her 40 year career in the nursing department at St. Louis University included roles as a Program Coordinator, Psychiatric-Mental Health Professor for Undergraduate & Graduate Nursing Education, and textbook author (including authoring many versions of Health Promotion Strategies Through the Life Span).
Ruth gave tirelessly to the St. Louis community. Her volunteer work included, according to her obituary: St. Patrick Center where she served as a Member, Board of Trustees and numerous committee roles. She was a member of the Board of Directors for HOPE in 1999-2000, a St Louis Transition Hope House volunteer, American Red Cross volunteer and served with the crisis intervention team in St. Louis Missouri.
Dr. Ruth Louise Beckmann Murray inspired and guided thousands of nursing students in their professional paths as Nurses, helped thousands more in her various other helping roles, and reached countless through her publications and community advocacy. She mentored and profoundly touched many lives personally, as the memories posted on her obituary describe. Her vibrancy, kindness, and love are missed far beyond her immediate and extended family.
PS- I’m including her in the “Healthcare Workers” category, because she remained active in her vocation of nursing long after retiring.
Dr. Gaye Griffin-Snyder died of COVID-19 on June 6, 2020 at the age of 71. She was a professional counselor in Missouri, helping people in St. Louis County, Springfield and throughout the state. She also worked as an adjunct graduate professor at Missouri State. She helped out countless people through their struggles with mental health and emotional issues.
Gaye was a woman with endless love, beautiful smiles, and great faith. She loved corvettes, golfing, and vacations in Hawaii. Gaye’s spirit was indomitable and she always had a great sense of humor.
Her daughter Angela wrote “She died with strangers and couldn’t respond to me in any way when I got to say goodbye via video conference. It haunts me constantly.”
Dr. Gaye Griffin-Snyder is missed by her daughter, her son-in-law, her grandchildren, and all the students she taught and people whose lives she helped make better.
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.
Jerome D. Schneider died of complications from COVID-19 on June 26, 2020 at the age of 93. He was a twice widowed former accountant who, even though the ravages of Alzheimers, still enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra and eating cheese blintzes.
Jerome is remembered for being a kind and gentle man. He is missed by his extended family and friends he made at the assisted care facility.
Edward Wood Cissel died on June 16th due to complications from Covid-19 on June 16, 2020. He was 99 years old. Although not from St. Louis, Edward Cissell spent 19 years as the headmaster of John Burroughs School from 1967 to 1986, a pivotal time for the school. During Wood’s time, the financial position of the school was strengthened, faculty salaries were raised, environmental education benefited from the acquisition of Drey Land, increased community service by students, construction of a fine arts building and a sports and performing arts center, and many more improvements. Cissell and his wife (who was also influential in the school) were named “honorary alumni”, a title that only 5 other people in the history of John Burroughs School have held.
Cissell also served in WWII as a forward observer in a field artillery battalion in the Fourth Infantry Division. On D-Day, he landed on Utah Beach and fought in the battles of Cherbourg and Saint Lo, earning a Bronze Star.
Edward Wood Cissell is missed by the hundreds of students and coworkers whose lives he touched, his many friends, his four children, grand children, and extended family.