Remembering Northwest Florida's COVID-19 victims
We are gathering photos and remembrances of people in Northwest Florida who have lost their lives to COVID-19. If you are a family member who has lost a loved one and would like them remembered in this story or in our photo gallery, email photos and text to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our thoughts are with you as you grieve your loss.
Stuart Paul Davis, Sr.
On Feb. 16, 2021, Stuart Paul Davis, Sr., passed away from complications of the COVID-19 virus.
"Like more than 500,000 other families throughout this country, the trajectory of my family’s life has been forever changed as we’ve been left with a void that will never truly be filled," his son William Davis wrote in an email to the Daily News. "In the days since his passing as we came to grips with this new reality, my mom, brother, and myself have pressed forward as a family by not reflecting on what we lost, but instead the immeasurable impact and legacy he left behind."
Born on Dec. 29, 1960 in Brighton, UK, Stuart Davis was the middle child of Bill and Jacqueline Davis, brother to Lewis and Lesley. Stuart eventually moved to Niceville, Florida, where he graduated from Niceville High School in 1979. Although the most consequential moment of his life happened one year earlier when he began dating the rock of his life, his wife of 37 years, Mary. Together, they built a family having two sons, Stuart Paul Davis, Jr. and William Davis. In 1995, starting with only a truck and a trailer, Stuart and his brother started Dogwood Services Lawn & Landscaping, working together over the next 25 years to build a successful and respected company. Throughout all of his life, Stuart was known as an honorable, reliable, and loyal man who never took himself too seriously and could always be counted on for a little mischief and well-timed joke that could brighten even the darkest of rooms.
"To truly capture the life of Stuart Davis, though, you must go beyond a brief biography and view his defining legacy that paints the true heart of the man. In the days since his passing, as I’ve combed through text messages from friends at every point in life, one common message came up time and time again—no matter who you were, no matter how well or how long he had known you, Dad always spoke to you like you were the only person in the room. To him, every word you said mattered and deserved his undivided attention. There was no such thing as strangers to Stuart Davis, only new friends, " his son wrote.
"I have fond memories of hanging on to the chain link fences after baseball practices waiting by the truck knowing full well we would be late for dinner at home, as I would watch my dad walk from one person to the next, stopping each time to talk as he made the slow procession out to the truck. At the time, I couldn’t have been more annoyed, but now I look back on those memories with such pride and admiration—to my dad it didn’t matter if the food on the dinner table got a little cold, everybody was worthy of his time and a conversation.
But it was never enough for my dad to just have a conversation—deeds and actions were his true language. Countless stories could be told of my dad’s innate willingness to go above and beyond for all whom he knew, from the closest of friends to relative strangers. Yet, the one that sticks out for me started a number of years ago when I was still in college living in Montgomery, Alabama. During my four years there every time my parents would come to visit, they would stay at the same hotel downtown. Well at some point, my dad kept running into the same valet each time he would stay at the hotel and in typical fashion for my dad, he would strike up a conversation each and every time he saw him. But these conversations weren’t simple pleasantries… No, for my dad these were meaningful conversations, striving to know who this man was, his goals, dreams, aspirations and everything in between. Every time I would walk out of the hotel with my dad to get in the truck, he would greet the man holding his keys not as just the guy that pulled his truck around, but as an old friend. Over the years, my dad would eventually learn that this valet was working his way through college at a different university from my own, striving to one day graduate and start a career in computer science. About a year or so after I graduated college and moved away from Montgomery, I called my dad just to check in and see he what he was doing for the day. I was confused when he told me he was driving up to Montgomery. Come to find out, he had received an invitation from his old friend, the valet, who was graduating from college and had invited my dad to attend. For my dad, sending a card and a congratulations, like most might do, simply wasn’t enough. Instead, he needed to drive 2.5 hours to Montgomery, Alabama, to celebrate the man whom he had built a friendship with one exchange of keys at a time.
The death of my father has left a void in the hearts of countless. For those who feel the pain of his absence like I do, don’t view this missing place in our hearts with sadness for the man we lost, but see it with joy as the mark that Stuart Davis’ life, driven by a deep compassion for his fellow man, left on yours.
As I write about my dad, I talk about who Stuart Davis “is,” not “was.” The fact is, physically, my dad is gone. But my use of “is” is not an error or typo. He lives through the family he loved unconditionally, the friendships he gave his heart and soul to, and through the legacy of his deeds and the lives that he touched with his kindness. Within me, he lives as I strive each day to walk in the massive footprints he left behind, even if at times it feels like an impossible endeavor. In every triumph, success, and milestone of my life, I will take pride in knowing that I will never be a “self-made man,” as I will forever stand on the shoulders of the giant who laid the path before me."
Martin (Marty) Francis Paluch Jr.
Martin (Marty) Francis Paluch Jr., age 79, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida passed away on Sunday, January 10, 2021. His life was taken by COVID-19. Martin was born on July 14, 1941, in Philadelphia, PA to Martin Sr. and Teodosia Paluch. Martin served this country that he loved so much in the Army during the Vietnam War. Martin retired from the University of Pennsylvania and was an active Union Teamster member of Local 115. After the passing of his wife, he moved to Florida to live with his daughter and her family. Martin loved gardening, reading, and spending time with his grandson. Martin is survived by his daughter, Deanna (Richard) Yahney; son, Andrew (Julianna) Paluch; grandson, Caden Yahney; sister, Elaine Mikelionis; sister-in-law, Nancy Sherry plus countless loved ones and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Martin Paluch Sr. and Teodosia (Kasperska) Paluch and his wife, Paulina (Giel) Paluch.
Frank Taylor passed away from COVID-19 at Gulf Coast Hospital on Jan. 9, 2021. Frank, was born on June 7th 1955 to Frank and Paulene Taylor in Fitzgerald, Georgia. In 1970, Frank met the love of his life Shay, and they wed in 1973, going on to have three girls, Becky, Vanessa, and Frankie Lynn. Frank was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. His family meant more to him than anything else in the world. Frank also loved fishing and playing Santa Claus at Christmas with Shay always by his side. He never met a stranger, always had a smile and a kind funny way about him. Anyone who knew Frank knew that he was the most loving father and husband a family could ask for. Frank was predeceased by his mother, Pauline, and his father Frank Sr. He is survived by Becky, Vanessa, Frankie Lynn, his six grandchildren Amber, Dylan, Nathan, Lilly, Aidan, Autumn, and great grandson Asher.
Cecil “Butch” Burton
Cecil “Butch” Burton, of Slidell, Louisiana, passed away Tuesday, June 16th, 2020, at 12:22 a.m. at Baptist Hospital, Pensacola. He was 62 years old, and was born on April 7, 1958, in Covington, Louisiana, to the late Cecil “Slim” Burton, Sr. and Dovis “Doe” Swaggerty.
Butch was a 1976 graduate of Bay High School, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Butch will be remembered as an Automobile Dealer, and a Musical Entertainer. Throughout his lifetime, he never met a stranger, and was a friend to all. He was certainly a Good Samaritan. He knew how to have a good time!
Butch was an adoring father to 5 children, and 15 grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, Sandra “Sandi” Edwards-Burton; his daughter, Andrea Laurent, husband Lex, and their children, Trent, wife Krystle, Gavin, and Amy Laurent; daughter Priscilla Scarborough, husband Marco, and their children, Casey, Rachel Roberts, and Reaghan Scarborough; daughter Melissa Amato, husband Rusty, and their children, Russell and Scarlett Amato; daughter Crystal Roper, husband Stephen and their children, Austin, Brayden, Chase, Dayne, Ethan, and Finn Roper; son Jonathan Burton, and his children, Adalyn and Bryce Burton; one sister, Debbie Dorn, husband Donnie, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Captain Lloyd Losinger
With great sadness, the Ocean City Wright Fire Control District announces the passing of Fire Inspection Captain Lloyd Losinger due to complications caused by COVID-19. Captain Losinger was a loyal friend and coworker, but more importantly he was a terrific husband, father and grandfather.
Jason “PeeWee” Goen
Family, friends and co-workers are mourning the death of Jason “PeeWee” Goen, an Okaloosa County correctional officer who died Friday at age 38 after battling COVID-19.
Goen died at West Florida Hospital in Pensacola, according to Okaloosa County Corrections Director Eric Esmond.
“Jason was effortlessly kind, receptive, supportive and naturally gifted as an officer,” Esmond said in a statement. “As one of his co-workers so eloquently stated, 'Many have been influenced by Jason’s unending compassion, respect for all people, and service to the community.' He was a dedicated son, brother, boyfriend, friend, and loyal co-worker. We ask that you keep his family, friends, and our department in your thoughts and prayers. His absence is significant and will be ubiquitously felt for quite some time.”
"My beautiful 82-year-old mom Mary Rodriguez went home to the Lord on Dec 17, 2020 after fighting for her life for 27 days. She will always be in our hearts and forever known as the bravest and strongest lady I have ever known. I am proud to call her my mom and I thank her for letting me take care of her. I love you momma." - Christine Vokes
She was born on September 3, 1938 to Refujia Martinez and Elodio Ruiz in La Paloma, Texas. She went home to the Lord on December 17, 2020 in Crestview, Florida, with her youngest daughter Christine by her side. She was 82. Mary was a devoted, loving and generous wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and sister. She was a faithful church member of several churches, including Center of Life & Hope (Laurel Hills, FL), Lifepoint Church (Crestview, FL), Faro Church (Lake Forest, CA) and St. Mary’s Church (Adrian, MI). She enjoyed being around her family, friends, watching old TV shows, singing worship songs and reading scripture. She is preceded in death by her husband, Teofilo Rodriguez; mother, Refujia Martinez; brother, Carlos Ruiz; and sister Raphaelita Ruiz. She leaves behind her daughters, Rose (Sylvester) Young, Betty Cathleen (Danny) Rosebaro, Christine Mandy (John) Vokes; sons, Teofilo Jr. (Helen) Rodriguez; and Robert (Irma) Rodriguez; 12 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild and brother-in-law, Juan Rivera. A celebration of Mary's life will be held on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., at Davis Watkins Crestview Memorial, 492 East Pine Avenue, Crestview Florida 32539.
David F. "Davey" Emory
David F. "Davey" Emory, 53, of Bayou George, FL died Wednesday, August 12, 2020 of COVID-19, according to his wife Paisley.
Vance Weimorts, age 63, a resident of Ponce de Leon, Florida passed away Tuesday, August 4, 2020. He was born April 2, 1957 to Harry and Marylee Weimorts. He graduated from Ponce de Leon High School, class of 1975. Vance loved building different things, spending time with his family, hunting the local woods, and freshwater fishing. Vance is survived by his loving wife, Sandra Weimorts; children, Chase Weimorts and wife Ariale, Kacey Weimorts, Nicole Van Wagoner and husband Chris, and step-daughter, Samantha Stuckey; ten grandchildren: Hunter Weimorts, Fisher Weimorts, Ainsley Weimorts, Jaxon Weimorts, Madison Rodgers, Beau Ryan, Rylee Van Wagoner, Harlie Van Wagoner, Galen Van Wagoner, and Jasmine Stuckey; three brothers, Randy Weimorts and wife Jo, Ronnie Weimorts, and his twin brother, Victor Weimorts; and two sisters, Sandra Bryan and Margaret Walters and husband Mike.
Katherine Lynn Clardy
Our sweet Katherine was received by her Lord and Savior on December 5, 2020 at the age of 63, after a courageous battle with the coronavirus. Katherine was a wonderful woman, incredibly loving and devoted to her friends and family.
Loving wife, mother and grandmother Katherine Clardy’s love of life did not end with the loss of her life! Her loving family will continue to honor her legacy, of living their lives to the fullest, as Katherine wished and prayed for her entire life. She loved her family and instilled her loving nature, strong values and forgiving heart. Katherine lived a full life as a proud homemaker, lover of nature, gardener, awesome fisherman, pet lover and most recently the best home-schooling grandmother in the entire world.
Yes, she was an amazing woman! She was born on December 14, 1956 on Tachikawa Airfield in Japan. She was raised in Panama City, where she graduated from Bay High School in 1975. Katherine met the love of her life in high school and she and Dennis were married on Valentine’s Day 1978. The happy couple went on to build a wonderful life together and raise their daughter, Jennifer, in Panama City.
Katherine is survived by her husband of 43 years, Dennis Clardy, daughter, Jennifer Barton (Garry) and grandson Damien Barton. She is also survived by her brother, Andy McAllister, brother in-law, James Harris (Andrea), niece, Rena Nelson, brother in-law, Ron Clardy (Lorrie), sister in-law, Sandra Carson (Roger) and a host of nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, James McAllister and Katie Roznik, sister, Brenda Harris (James) and sister, Barbera Nelson (Jaydell).
Julia Ann Thomas
Julia Ann Thomas, age 71, of Panama City, Florida passed away December 17, 2020 at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in Panama City. She was born March 28, 1949 to the late James Arbery Cornelison and Ann Adams Cornelison. In addition to her parents, Julia was preceded in death by one brother, John Cornelison.
Ms. Thomas is survived by one daughter, Janine Thomas and Jeremy Heath of Chipley, FL; one son, James Thomas, Jr. and Diana Davis of Panama City, FL; one sister, Cinda Trexler and Curtis Trexler of Panama City, FL; one brother, Jim Cornelison and Mary Helen Cornelison of Morganton, NC; six grandchildren, Jayda Thomas, Jallena Thomas, Hunter Heath, Jeremy Lee Heath Jr., Mark Rendon and Joseph Rendon; numerous nieces and nephews.
Lucy Carolyn Cain McGuffee
Lori McGuffee Dunn (right) poses with her mother, Lucy Carolyn Cain McGuffee of Niceville, who passed away from COVID-19 on Aug. 1. Lucy was the wife of R.C. (Bob) McGuffee, Jr. They were married 62 years exactly; she passed away on their anniversary. According to her obituary and Lori, Lucy battled the disease for nearly a month. She was a stay-at-home wife and mother. She was always there for her family no matter what sacrifice she had to make. Her husband said she had a 3-foot circle of love around her, and anyone who was blessed enough to step into that circle experienced that love and was a better person for it. She loved Jesus with her whole heart, which made her love others that way, too. The family still has not had a formal service due to COVID-19 concerns.
Desmond K. Jones
Remeeka Wilson lost her husband Desmond K. Jones (September 26, 1985 - August 27, 2020) of Fort Walton Beach to COVID-19 in August. "He was an amazing dad of a 1- year-old baby girl, excellent loving husband, loving son, brother, brother-in-law and uncle as well as a great friend to all," Wilson said. Desmond was a longtime member of Kappa Kappa Psi and leaves behind a host of loving memories with family and friends from his birthplace in Troy, Alabama.
Mary Frances Bond
Mary Frances Bond, 82, passed away Thursday, July 23, in Panama City from COVID-19. She was born on April 2, 1938, in Meridian, Mississippi. She graduated from Meridian High School in 1956 and attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority. In May 1960, she married Charles Bond and moved to Panama City, where they raised two children, Kim and Chuck. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Panama City and a member of the Jaycees, Junior Woman’s Club and Daughters of the American Revolution, and co-chaired Children of the American Revolution for many years. She was the epitome of a great Southern lady and had the most beautiful Southern drawl. She loved her family fiercely and made everything she did beautiful and special. Her sweet birthday group of Judy Davis, Carolyn Branch, JoAn Gramling, Judy Haney and Kay Rivard brought her great joy and laughter.
Desi’rae Wysocki-McIntosh was a hard worker. She never complained. She never showed up late. She never called in sick — even when she was sick. The 26-year-old worked her late-night shift July 8 at the Tom Thumb on Florence Avenue in Fort Walton Beach while suffering from a fever, coughing and shortness of breath. This was one day before she was admitted to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, where family members say she died in the intensive care unit after telling multiple family members via text message she tested positive for COVID-19. “She was my heart and soul,” her husband Scotty said. “She was very quiet. She loved animals, and they loved her. She loved being around animals. She loved being around me. We were pretty much inseparable. We always held hands and cuddled and kissed and hugged every chance we got. She was very sweet, loving and caring person.”
John Douglas Henderson
John Douglas Henderson Jr, 56, of Fort Walton Beach, passed away Nov. 1 2020. He was born in Fort Walton Beach on May 30, 1964, to Doug and JoAnne Henderson. John was a 1982 graduate of Fort Walton Beach High School. He graduated from Florida State University in 1988 — Go Seminoles! John was a master at his craft as a bartender, most recently at Swizzle Stick but also Jamaica Joe's, Fudpucker's, The Little Bar, Hogs Breath, Pandora's and Docie’s Dock. among others. His hobbies included woodworking and watching his Seminoles on Saturdays with his two tabby kitties, Cheeto and Dorito. Johnny loved people! He loved life, his Jimma, his family, and his wide assortment of friends from the Fort Walton Beach community in which he lived. In the 1990’s, John became a partner with his two good friends and opened Hoser’s Deli and Ale House on Okaloosa Island, which became a fixture in his heart and to the many who passed through the doors. John was always the go-to guy for a witty comment, a jovial laugh or a kind word of encouragement. His generosity extended to his friends with the annual Fourth of July blowout on the island. A “Friendsgiving” Thanksgiving Tuesday turkey day was also celebrated with Jimma and assorted co-workers and peers who couldn’t celebrate on Thanksgiving with their families.
Brandy Hearne, 41, died Sept. 4, 2020, after a battle against COVID-19 that started in early July. Hearne, the finance director at the Okaloosa County Tax Collector's Office, died surrounded by family at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where she was flown after being at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Hearne, was the mother to her son Alex, 13, and daughter Lillian, 6, and fur child Benson. She was the daughter of Carl Fontain, who at 73 likely never expected to see a day without her. She was the sister to Barry Boutwell — they were close. She was the best friend to Michelle Anderson and Courtney Ferguson, andAnd so much more to so many people.
Harold Willis Brown
Harold Willis Brown, 81, passed away Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Harold was born on July 12, 1939 to the late WJC and Geneva Brown. He was raised in Fitzgerald, GA and attended North Georgia College. He was a proud Army veteran. His career spanned many years in the insurance industry beginning with the General Adjustment Bureau, Travelers Insurance Co., and ended as an agent with Nationwide Insurance. He was a long time member of the Lions Club International and he served as president of the Sight Clinic for one year. Harold is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Peggy Kilcrease Brown of Pensacola, FL; daughters, Tracy Murphy (Scott) of Gulf Breeze, FL, Erica Barron (Matthew) of Hoschton, GA and Jill Bostick (Brian) of Birmingham, AL; grandchildren, Brooke Evans (Cody), Amanda Murphy, Sophie, Camille and Wade Barron and one great grandchild, Rhett Evans. Private family services will be held at Bayview Memorial Park, due to covid-19 concerns. The Rev. James Bell will officiate.