JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As COVID-19 cases along the First Coast continue to rise, the rate of COVID related deaths do also.
First Coast News is honoring the ones lost to the virus and hopes to celebrate the legacy they leave behind.
They are not just numbers. Here are their faces and their stories.
If you know of an individual who has passed away from COVID-19 and would like them to be included here, please reach out to email@example.com.
Chief Derek Scott Asdot
Chief Derek Scott Asdot with the Green Cove Springs Police Department has died after a battle with COVID-19, according to a Facebook post.
"It is with great sadness, and devastation, that the Green Cove Springs Police Department announces the passing of our leader, our brother, our friend, Chief Derek Scott Asdot," posted the department. "Today, after a good fight, Chief Asdot has lost his battle with COVID-19."
Chief Asdot is survived by his wife loving wife Angie, his son Jake, and his daughter Ashley.
"We send our deepest condolences to his family and all of his loved ones," said the department.
Deputy Sheriff IV Talmadge Tucker
The Glynn County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of one of its deputies.
The sheriff's office announced the death of Deputy Sheriff IV Talmadge "Leon" Tucker in a post on its Facebook page Tuesday.
Tucker served in law enforcement for more than 30 years, working for the Glynn County Sheriff's Office for the last 11 years, according to the post.
"He will be missed by all who knew him," the post says. "Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers."
Union County Sheriff’s Correctional Officer Stacy Crawford passed away at ShandsUF Hospital on Tuesday, Sep. 7 after a long battle with COVID-19.
After working 27 years, Officer Crawford retired from the Department of Corrections in 2015.
Chief Randy Burnham
Lake City Fire Chief Randy Burnham lost his fight with COVID-19 on Sunday.
"It is with my deepest sympathy and probably the hardest thing that I have ever posted. Today Chief Randy Burnham lost his fight with COVID," the department wrote in a Facebook post. "We are saddened but thankful for all of your prayers. Please continue to lift the family and our department in your prayers."
Amber was over the moon when she became pregnant with her second daughter.
Her best friend Ashlie Manucy was planning a baby shower for this weekend, but Amber died Monday from COVID-19 after almost five weeks in the hospital.
"She was kind. She was caring. She was a great mom; a great wife; a great daughter," Manucy said fighting back tears.
Doctors were able to deliver baby Olivia earlier this month. Amber's husband Carl is now taking care of two young children.
"I love her and she was my first love; my best friend, my confidant," Tinkey Anderson said of her daughter.
The family initially set up a GoFundMe page to help with Amber's medical bills, but the family's focus now is paying for the expenses of a newborn.
They are also trying to get Carl's parents, who live in England, to the United States on a compassionate visa, but they were denied.
"We are the only ones he has here in the United States," Anderson told First Coast News. We're his family and we're just staying tight and close."
Amber's mother was also in the hospital with COVID, but was able to visit her daughter one last time. It was a final farewell she won't forget.
Sgt. Daniel 'Dan' Eugene Watts
A longtime veteran of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department has died from COVID-19 complications. Sgt. Daniel 'Dan' Eugene Watts, 49, has been a member of the JBPD since 2002. He previously served the Atlantic Beach Police Department.
In 2004, Watts was promoted to detective and transferred to Downtown CAPE Office in 2012. The next year, he became a corporal and was promoted to sergeant in April.
"Dan was a decorated, veteran member of this department," the JBPD said in a statement. "We are devastated."
In addition, he was on the SWAT Team for over 10 years.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Marvin Nelson lost his battle with Covid on Aug. 24 after battling it for four weeks. He died on his 52nd birthday.
His wife, Cindy Nelson, was with him in the ICU when his heart stopped for the third time, but they could not get him back. He had been on a ventilator for only four days.
"Those were the only days I was allowed to be at his side, explains Sindy Nelson. "We were only able to talk on the phone if he didn’t feel too short of breath, or by texting. The day they intubated him we had a short conversation on the phone. It was the last time I heard his voice."
She says they met 27 years ago at church, got married and had four children together: Abigail, Caleb, Bethany, and Miriam.
"He loved them more than life, and they are devastated that their father is gone," she says. "Covid has stolen so much from our family. He was a devoted husband and father. His family was his world! He was a selfless person who would stop to help anyone in need."
He loved God, podcasts and classic Mopar cars. He was a truck driver and drove a dump truck for All Site Construction.
"He will forever be in our hearts and is greatly missed by all."
The City of Jacksonville Beach is mourning the loss of its city engineer who passed away from COVID-19.
Mayor Chris Hoffman announced the death of Marty Martirone on Thursday.
"The world is small, life is short and if I didn't know that yesterday, I certainly know it today. Please keep the Martirone and City of Jacksonville Beach families in your thoughts and prayers. Rest in Peace, Marty," said Hoffman.
Deputy Clint Seagle
Deputy Clint Seagle died on Aug. 29, 2021, after a long battle with COVID-19. He has been a member of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office since 2006.
He served the residents of Clay County in Patrol, Traffic, and most recently the Civil Unit. Deputy Seagle also proudly served his country for 21 years in the United States Navy.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we will remember his service to our county and our country always," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.
Deputy Paul Luciano
Detention Deputy Sheriff Paul Luciano passed away from COVID-19 complications on Aug. 26, 2021.
Deputy Luciano was 60-years-old and started his law enforcement career in 1996 with the Bunnell Police Department, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said.
He later joined the Department of Corrections in Volusia County before joining FCSO in 2019, where he served as a Detention Deputy Sheriff at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility.
Deputy Luciano is survived by his wife, Carrie Luciano and their children.
“Deputy Luciano is a hero and this has devastated our team,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I’m asking the community to keep his family and the men and women of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in their prayers as we mourn the loss of one of our own. Deputy Luciano will be greatly missed by his brothers and sister of the FCSO.”
Bessie Jimenez lost her battle to COVID-19 on Dec 6, 2020. She was 64 years old.
She was admitted to Baptist Beaches November 1, 2020. Her daughter says she was not vaccinated and underlying health issues caused multiple organ failures.
She was an international business woman for 18 years and spoke three languages; Spanish, English and Portuguese. Before she died, she was selling for RHP properties and working on getting her real estate license.
"She was a firm believer in the lord, wished to spend every minute with her granddaughters Mia and Michaela," says Melissa Jimenez. "Her hobbies were gardening and meeting us at the beach in the morning and spending the entire day together, then going to get oysters and beers. Wonderful woman who never met a stranger. Just heard a story from a fedex employee who delivered to our house often. Said he remembered my mom from ten years ago, because she made him lunch on a hot day when he was extremely busy.."
"They just don’t make people like that anymore and she deserves to be shared. I love you mom."
Deputy Jody Hull
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is mourning the loss of one of its deputies who passed away after battling COVID-19.
The sheriff's office said Deputy Jody Hull died on the morning of Aug. 21, 2021. Hull had been sick for weeks and had been intubated for a while.
He was with the agency for four years and most recently served as the Youth Resource Deputy at St. Augustine High School.
“Deputy Hull positively impacted the lives of so many St. Augustine High School students as a Youth Resource Deputy. He was passionately dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the youth around him,” Sheriff Hardwick said. “Deputy Hull was a valued member of our St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office family and will be greatly missed.”
Officer Eddie Bounds
A recently retired Neptune Beach Police Officer passed away from complications due to COVID-19 on Aug. 21, 2021.
Officer Eddie Bounds retired from NBPD on June 3 but had come back to work as a civilian employee. Shortly after returning to work, Bounds was hospitalized with COVID-19.
Bounds served the residents of Neptune Beach for 10 years and prior to that, he served in Jacksonville Beach for 23 years.
"Eddie was many things to many people. A husband, father, grandfather, public servant, coach, and dear friend to many. He was also the epitome of a Beaches Police Officer. A legend. A true legacy left behind," the department wrote in a Facebook post.
James Christopher Weatherford
Words from the family
"This is our son, brother, and uncle, James Christopher Weatherford. He was born April 2, 1979 and died at Baptist South on May 16, 2021 from COVID. He was in the hospital for two weeks.
Jimmy was an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, a black belt in karate and at one time, owned a karate school. When he died, he was a Trainmaster for CSX. We are so proud of him and miss him more than words can say."
- Jim and Lynn Weatherford, Jody Weatherford and Avaia Weatherford.
David Miller cradles his tiny newborn Evie. She makes those little baby squeaky noises every once in a while in his arms. Miller is a proud new poppa, but he is a man in mourning. He just lost Evie’s mom, Greyzie Un.
She was just 31 years old.
While Greyzie was pregnant, she tested positive for COVID-19. She was not vaccinated. Evie was born July 18 and on August 14, Greyzie passed away.
Evie never felt her own mother’s embrace.
"She never had a chance to hold her child," Miller said through tears. "That's tough for us to get our head around. This virus is real. If I could say anything, it's to get vaccinated.."
"We’ve been together for eight years," Miller recalled. "She was phenomenal. There was not a speck of negativity in her. She impacted so many lives."
Maggie Camacho Shuman
"My heart is completely broken I was given a best friend the day I was born," writes one woman about the passing of her aunt.
Amber Petravich says Maggie Camacho Shuman had the most bubbly and sweetest soul.
Maggie was admitted into UF Health July 29, 2021, due to COVID-19. She was placed on oxygen and then intubated. Due to complications, on August 17 Maggie did not make it.
"If you knew Maggie, you know how sweet, bubbly and energetic she was. She would give you the shirt off her back and definitely a new lipstick!," says Petravich.
She leaves behind three children.
Lieutenant Mario J. Moya
A lieutenant with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department has died as a result of COVID-19. Lieutenant Mario J. Moya of Rescue-42-B served JFRD for 17 years.
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Lieutenant Moya unselfishly served this community while continually exposing himself to the very virus that cost him his life," said JFRD.
The agency says he is survived by his wife Christina and children Bobby, Bella, and MJ.
"Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced soon."
Phillip Lay Jr
Phillip Lay Jr passed away on Aug. 7, 2021 from complications of COVID-19. He was 35 years old.
Family says he worked at JAXPORT for over 10 years before his passing.
"There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to lighten up the mood and make people laugh. He was just starting a new chapter in his life. He leaves behind a 6-year-old son that he loved more than anyone", said his sister, Christina Lay.
He also leaves behind a girlfriend of 10 years.
Phillip was not vaccinated. You can donate here to help the family.
"All money donated will go to burying my brother near my dad as he would have wanted and to help with expenses to care for his son, " says his sister.
Nicole Hollis was hospitalized earlier this month with COVID-19, according to a GoFundMe page. Comments on the page suggest that she was an educator at River City Science Academy Mandarin Campus.
Her mother was the one to start the page for Nicole.
"It is with a heavy broken heart that I let everyone know My baby was taken from me early this morning! She faught so hard and her heart started failing . She will be missed by so many! She had such a smile and silly laugh! Please hug your loved ones and always remember to tell them you love them ! We always did! I got to be with her in her final minutes! I miss her so much already! I can’t even begin to thank all for your thoughts and prayers!"
A well-known mom-and-pop bakery in Duval County is known for its delicious food and the friendly people who work there. One of those former employees died Friday from COVID-19. Tim Staley worked as one of the original bakers. He left the bakehouse in February to start a non-profit organization for kids with disabilities.
“He was healthy and in the prime of life," owner Kurt D'Aurizio said.
D'Aurizio couldn't believe the news one of his former employees was gone from COVID-19 at just 40 years old.
Staley's former coworkers remember his sweet personality and desire to make the community a better place.
“Talk to a doctor because I don’t want to lose any more friends," D'Aurizio said.
This GoFundMe page will help pay for the final expenses of a man gone too soon with so many plans and a full life ahead of him.
Keith Smith, a long time chef at Clara White Mission, passed away at the age of 51. Jacksonville Councilwoman Ju'Coby Pittman confirmed Smith died from COVID-19 and was fully vaccinated.
He started volunteering at the mission when he was just 14 years old, according to a Clara White newsletter dated June of 2019. He helped out in the kitchen and around the mission.
Later on, Keith started officially working as the janitor after his high school graduation in 1988.
Clara White says his responsibilities increased over the years.
One day in the early 1990's he started cooking lunch. Clara White says he eventually went to school to train as a chef and would later trains the Culinary Arts students, manage the kitchen and more.
Keith was reportedly part of the Clara White Mission for over 33 years.
Bobby Rivers was the assistant principal at Arlington Middle School.
Principal Shawn Platts says his passion for students and for education was immediately evident. He was well known for his success in helping children learn in every setting.
"Our entire school community is deeply saddened by this unexpected loss, and we send our condolences to his family," said Platts.
Kevin Hubbard was a Duval Schools locksmith. He came from a family of locksmiths and was taught the trade since age 15.
He was diagnosed on July 31 and died shortly after.
According to a Facebook page, he was a Marine Corps veteran, dog lover and enjoyed riding motorcycles. He also was a musician.
A 16-year-old in Jacksonville died from COVID-19, Wolfson Children’s Hospital confirmed in early August. The child is not being identified at this time.
In a statement sent to First Coast News, the hospital encouraged everyone to continue following COVID-19 precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask and getting vaccinated if eligible.
We can confirm a patient at Wolfson Children’s Hospital passed away on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, due to COVID-19. The death of a child is always tragic, and our hearts are with the family as they grieve this loss. We are unable to comment further due to patient privacy laws. We encourage everyone to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, washing hands, and getting vaccinated, if eligible.