Faces of COVID-19
Remembering Arizonans lost to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has left an everlasting impact on the lives of every person in Southern Arizona.
With the virus claiming the lives of more than 6,000 people in Arizona alone, News 4 Tucson hopes to immortalize those individuals by sharing their stories through this virtual memorial.
To honor and remember those who passed away due to COVID-19, News 4 Tucson is asking the community to send photos and stories about their loved ones who died in connection to the virus that has turned our world upside down.
Here are some of the faces of the more than 6,000 people who died from COVID-19 in Arizona
“Leticia was a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, she was a great human being always helping someone in need, she was loved by all who knew her, she passed away in August, we miss you so much and can’t wait to see you soon.”
– Yolanda Robles, Daughter
“My dad passed in April from covid-19. He fought hard but he could not beat it. My sisters, brother and I miss him very much, he was hunter, hard worker and wish he was still here. We love you dad😪❤🙏”
– Jose Vasquez, Son
“Very sweet loving person. With a big heart. Tucson High Legendary. All state football champion 70-71 his football number was 21. Always had a smile on his face.”
– Angelina Johnson, Niece
“Mom came to the United States at age 16. She met my dad, a recent Veteran and they wed in 1952. Tragically my dad passed away in 1963 leaving mom a widow with 3 young children. She struggled and raised us to be honest and hardworking. Due to many health problems mom was living at an assisted living facility for the past 10 years. In 2018 mom became a US Citizen.
She expressed to me that the swearing-in ceremony was the proudest moment in her life! We had not seen mom since March 11th. Our contact was strictly through telephone and Zoom sessions. I got a dreadful call that someone in her unit had tested positive and that mom has been tested. Unfortunately, she tested positive on July 10th and tragically passed away on July 16.
It’s heartbreaking because no family could be by her side. She died all alone as her weakened heart could not withstand the lack of oxygen Covid caused. She is dearly missed by everyone. Her words of wisdom and encouragement are what is missed the most.
Wish I could have been by her side.”
– Lina Armijo, Daughter
“My dad tony used to work at kino hospital as a nurse and he loved his job. He loved helping people and understood the risks that came along with working at a hospital. That still doesn’t make it any easier that he was taken with COVID. My dad was a loving father to Enrique and I. He was a proud grandpa to my daughter and nephew. He was always having a great time with his brothers and sisters. We all miss him so much and are always thinking of him. RIP dad. Loving father, tata, friend and brother.”
– Brittney Herrera, Daughter
Evangelina Claudia Ovalle Lerma
“Mi hermana falleció el 30 de marzo y mi madre el 12 de abril las dos por complicaciones por Covid, dejan un dolor muy grande y un vacío imposible de llenar en sus hijos y nietos y sobrinos.”
“My sister died on March 30 and my mother on April 12, both of complications from Covid, leaving a great pain and a void impossible to fill in their children and grandchildren and nephews.”
– Oralia Lerma, Sister
Joel Murillo Sr.
“Joel was a strong, funny, courageous man. Was a family man and loved his wife, kids, and family. He will forever be missed by his family.”
– Shardae Murillo, Sister-in-law
“Sadly, my family and me lost our Father, Grandfather and mentor to Covid-19 back in July. My Father, Carlos Gallegos, was in a nursing home when he passed and we could not say goodbye or be by his side due to Covid restrictions. It was the most devastating event for our family. The fact he had dementia and may of not known there was a pandemic going on and wondering why his family wasn’t by his side just kills us.
Carlos was a Tucson native who went to Tucson High to be then drafted into the Army in the Vietnam war. He was a 101st Airborne who received a bronze star for his efforts. My Father was a true business man who owned many businesses throughout his life, one being Park Avenue bar in Tucson. He was a big part of the Tejano scene and loved to dance. Our Father is will forever be missed and never forgotten. Carlos was 71 years older when he passed. We love you Dad.”
– Jaclyn Gallegos, Daughter
Francisco Javier Aguilar
“Husband passed away from COVID-19 three days after being diagnosed. He left behind four kids and one grand baby. Great man with a big heart. He will always be missed. RIP, Till we meet again.”
– Griselda Olea-Aguilar, Wife
“My dad was a living husband, dad, grandfather and great grandfather. He was the rock of our family. He was loved by many many people and will be missed dearly. 11/12/1949 to 10/29/2020.”
– Yvonne Perez, Daughter
Albert Cordova Jr
“My Uncle Albert was the most loving individual I knew. He was very wise and spiritual. He was a proud Native American Marine. He was always there for his Family and his Friends and so very loved! He leaves behind his Wife Sandra Cordova Daughters Sandra and Loyida and Son Pablo along with 6 Grandchildren, 3 Brothers and 1 Sister, nieces and nephews who miss him everyday. His absence has left a hole in our hearts until we see you again Tio! We Love and Miss You Always! God Is Love.”
– Celestina Castro, Niece
“Marge was 100 years old! She was our wonderful neighbor for many years watching our kids grow up. When she moved to assisted living, I visited her frequently as her family lived out of state. She was a part of our family. Although she had no symptoms, she did test positive for Covid and had to be quarantined in an unfamiliar room for 14 days. A very difficult thing for a 100-year-old woman. A couple of days before she passed, I was granted admission to see her while being properly dressed in PPE. Armed with recorded audio goodbyes I asked her family to send, I entered her room knowing she was in her final days. Although she was no longer talking, I got a squeeze of my hand while she listened to her family’s words and my singing. I also called her 102-year-old sister so she could say goodbye. We will always hold Marge in our hearts! There have been so many casualties due to Covid and not all include a respirator. Be kind and reach out!”
– Alison Frye, Family Friend
Jose “Chico” Francisco Lazos Haro
“My dad died June 8, 2020. Days before and a day after his death, two of his sisters, Rita L Haro and Manuela Johnson, my aunts died.
They were very close. All three are very much loved and missed by family and friends.”
– Joe Haro, Son
“My dad was a hard-working man. Married for 54 years, to the love of his life my mom. He was loved by many people and is truly missed.”
– Lisa Garcia, Daughter
José A. Castilblanco
“My dad was a man of great faith, he is missed every single day!
José Alcides Castilblanco Mairena was born in San Rafael del Norte, Nicaragua on January 19, 1952. He was born into the marriage of Celina Mairena López and Ignacio Castilblanco, he was one of 7 children. After the death of his brothers and the turmoil caused by the Nicaraguan Civil War, José Alcides Castilblanco Mairena emigrated to Nacozari Sonora Mexico where he lived for several decades. In 1993 he emigrated for the second time to Tucson Arizona USA. However, his love for the countryside that he developed from childhood returned him once again to Mexico – this time to the state of Veracruz to work in the fields and grow tobacco. Returning to the fields with humble and simple people was an experience that he totally enjoyed until the end. José was a man full of faith in our Heavenly Father and was a great devotee of Our Virgin of Guadalupe. He not only
helped the needy, but he was a father of many children who for one reason or another needed that loving father figure who always projected protection and tranquility. Never angry, screaming, or desperate, José always addressed people with love and respect regardless of their status. José possessed a love of Spanish music such as Roció Dulca, Isabel Pantoja and several others. He loved food, especially Nicaraguan Gallina Pinta, Arroz con leche and fried plantains. In February 2020, José Alcides Castilblanco Mairena returned to Tucson AZ USA to pursue treatment for lung cancer that was previously diagnosed in Mexico. After a battle against this cancer, he, unfortunately, lost the battle not only against his lung cancer but also against COVID-19. He gave the fight of his life for 6 days ultimately succumbing to the disease on July 10, 2020. He is survived by his children and grandchildren Francisco Fernando (grandchildren: Isabella, Alexander y Camilla), Eric Daniel (grandchildren: Abigail y Daniel), José Alcides (grandchildren: Nadia and Nicolas) Rogers (grandchild: Desmond), Adriana, Flor, Karina (grandchildren: Sophia and Sebastian) and Sara (grandchildren: Andrea, Daniella and Karolina).”
– Sara Ratliff, Daughter
“Salome ‘Sally’ was full of life and was a dedicated nurse at a care facility. Always smiling and laughing, we didn’t see her often due to her work but got to see yet last year at Christmas. She passed in April and finally laid to rest with her late husband Larry in November when her family back East could travel to Arizona. She was loved.”
– Alison Frye, Daughter-In-Law
Arliss “Al” Laux
“My dad was a retired pharmacist and had turned 85 on June 20th, 2020. He had 7 grandchildren he adored and loved to hear about their lives. He was in a memory care facility when he caught COVID-19. He passed away July 16th, 2020. I had not been able to visit him since March 12th because of the lockdown.”
– Jill Waffler, Daughter
“Out father / husband died 5-9-2020. My daddy died a senseless death. He was in a safe home for his dementia abs he was happy there the last time I saw my daddy was the first week of March. Then the lockdown came in place. He was diagnosed on 5-2, hospice by 5-5, passed onn5-9. Our hearts will forever be broken. We love you daddy these holidays will never be the same. You truly are missed by everyone.. I know you are in a better place and God has you. But it still hurts”
– Frances Andazola, Son
“Our father was born and raised here in Tucson. He was a father to Rene and I. His trade was mechanic and loved being a helpful person to all friends and family especially to our Nana Lidia his mother –whom passed away one month before our dad passed in March of 2020. My dad Martin leaves behind his 6 grandchildren. We miss him so much. He was severely sick with COVID 19 for a little over 3weeks at home. RIP dad until we meet again. We love you dad and tata. This is so devastating n we still cannot believe it. We are all broken-hearted.”
– Martin Adrian Hernandez, Son
“Martin Hernandez was an amazing brother, son, uncle and father. He was the most loving person. He treated everyone with kindness and would give you his shirt off his back anytime.”
– Leticia Hernandez, Sister-in-law
“(He was a) fence builder. (Victor) was a loving father and grandfather”
– Friend of Family
“Mom was a kind, generous, humorous and supportive person. Though 92, she had the energy and looks of a 70-year-old. Known for her beauty, delicious cooking and dancing skills, she is missed terribly by both family and friends.”
– Diane Castro, Daughter
“(Lary was) the most Christian, kind-hearted, generous man you would ever meet, really. (He) always had a smile (and was) always good to others”
– Peggy McKellar, Wife
Fidelina Ramirez Ybarra
“Fidelina Ramirez Ybarra was one of the kindest, loving and giving moms you’ll ever find. My sister and I were very blessed to have such a beautiful and wonderful mom in our lives. Years ago when Tom Brokaw from NBC News stated the children born into and shortly after the Great Depression and lived through World War II is the greatest generation that society has ever produced. His poignancy hit the mark on that generation and mom experienced and struggled as a child and teenager after the depression and having her older cousins drafted during World War II. That is why I admired my mom. (She did so) much for all that she’s accomplished in life. She was truly a mom’s mom who welcomed everyone into her home and made you feel like family. We will always cherish mom in our hearts and know that she is with us in spirit. Until we see you again, mom.”
– Gilbert Ybarra, Son
“He would give you the shirt off his back. (He) always had you laughing and loved his family dearly.”
– Daniella Grijalva, Daughter
“(He was) the creative jokester, proud marine and his family was everything to him.”
– Daniella Grijalva, Granddaughter
“(He was a) well-respected journalist and dedicated family man.”