‘To know him was to love him’: Memphis father of 5 dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – COVID-19 has taken a life from a Memphis family, and its surviving members—who all tested positive for the virus—have a strong message to share.

Vickie Quarles and her five daughters are facing the new year without their husband and father, Theodis.

“He was such a loving man. He would do anything and everything for anybody. To know him was to love him,” Quarles said.

The 48-year-old died December 18, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

“He thought at first that it was just an upper respiratory infection,” Quarles said.

She says his condition worsened quickly and he developed a fever, stomach pains and breathing issues.

The loss has been especially hard for the children, ages two to 18.

“The six-year-old and the ten-year-old, they don’t sleep at night, and they’re trying to understand ‘When is daddy coming home’ and ‘Why do daddy have to be in the dirt?’” Quarles said.

Eighteen-year-old Alyssa, a medical student, who helped care for her father, says she wants to remember the good times but said, “When I have to think about what he looked like, I only think about what I saw of him last, laying there, and I couldn’t help him.”

It’s unknown how or where Theodis Quarles, an insurance agent, contracted COVID-19, but his wife has a warning for those who aren’t taking the virus seriously.

“Until it hits your door, you don’t really understand the meaning of actually staying safe and the real thing,” she said. “Okay, this virus is actually real.”

The family, all of whom tested positive for the virus, has just finished their quarantine process and are making plans to bury their father.

In the meantime, a friend has set up a GoFundMe account to help Theodis Quarles’ five daughters.

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