Families, Loved Ones Recount Stories of Those Lost During Coronavirus Pandemic

99 people in Illinois have died after being diagnosed with the virus

NBCUniversal, Inc.

As the number of coronavirus cases and fatalities continue to climb, families of those who have lost their lives to the disease are reminding us that there are dozens of heartbreaking and uplifting stories behind the statistics.

The victims of the virus are mothers and musicians, immigrants and good neighbors, and while their life stories are all different, what’s the same is the devastating impact that their deaths have had on their loved ones.

Asberry Stoudemire grew up on the West Side of Chicago. A talented piano player, Stoudemire is being remembered for his virtuoso musical talent and for his kind and outgoing spirit.

“Asberry had no enemies. He was loved by everybody,” a loved one recounted to NBC 5. “If you wanted to choose somebody that was dedicated to being your friend, that was Berry. We’re gonna miss him dearly.”

Another victim of the virus, Darlene Spencer, was a fixture at the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Hobart, Indiana. Her husband Jeff is the pastor of the church, and those who knew Spencer best say that she was kind and generous with her time, loving every friend as if they were family.

Her husband is currently battling the virus, but her family says he is still fighting.

Many in the area now know the story of Feliks and Luiza Ogorodnik, who recently died just hours apart in suburban Glenview. The couple came to the U.S. from Ukraine more than 20 years ago, working hard to become citizens and to learn English in their adopted homeland.

“They made a new life for themselves, so they could be with their family and they were really the center of the family,” Rabbi Andrea London said. “They were very loving and supportive parents and grandparents.”

The rabbi performed the couple’s virtual memorial service on Tuesday, and has words of comfort for those who are struggling with grief during this emotional and tumultuous time.

“The story of hope is about possibility for the future,” London said. “So just remember the possibility of hope for the future even when you can’t see it in this time of darkness.”

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