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One Year Anniversary Of First COVID-19 Death In Ohio

Dan Konik

Friday March 19, 2021 marks one year since the first Ohioan died from COVID-19. Since then, more than 18,000 Ohioans have died from the virus. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports on some of them.

The first recorded death was Mick Wagoner of Toledo. His son, former state lawmaker Mark Wagoner, says doctors first suspected his Dad had a recurring bout with pneumonia. Mark says his Dad, a local attorney, was beloved by his community and his family.


It was a difficult time for the family because Dad was the glue that kept us together.”


Another attorney, Abe Baghat of Columbus, was sick for months before dying from COVID on October 30th. David Baghat is his son.


For an 82-year-old, this man literally could do anything. Still practiced law up until the day he got sick. Was traveling the world. He had a trip to Prague booked for April of last year. Nothing scared him, including the virus.”


Robert Burns, Jr. was a former volunteer firefighter, a reserve captain for the Stark County Sheriff’s office and worked as a juvenile corrections officer at Indian River Schools for 29 years. He died December 17th. His wife, Pam, says he was outspoken.


He was a very black and white person. And he didn’t mind telling you what he thought.”


His son, Bobby Weston, says he didn’t always see eye to eye with his Dad but he respected him.


I shouldn’t be burying my Dad as a 28-year-old.”


Steve Sidebottom of Westerville was a Navy veteran, an I T specialist and played guitar in the church praise band. His wife, Christina, says he had a great sense of humor and sometimes put her to sleep by telling funny stories.


We did everything together so it’s really hard. I just feel like my heart has been ripped out.”


Gina Rollins and her sister were battling COVID and weren’t at her Mom’s hospital bedside when she passed on August 26th.


The hospital chaplins called us about 6-6:30 and we got to say our goodbyes over the phone. And they said a prayer with her. The next call we got was at 8:30, telling us she was gone.”


Gina almost lost her only son to COVID about the same time. Three weeks later, the family was finally able to lay to rest Mary Ann Rollins, the former registered nurse who worked in public health for five decades, who broke down color barriers at Ohio State University.


Tiffin resident Diane Dougherty volunteered at the local independent theater but her main job was raising her two kids. She had other health problems so she couldn’t handle the problems caused by COVID. And when it became clear she wasn’t going to recover, her son, Gary brought her to his Central Ohio home.


So, we brought her down here and Dad was here, my wife and I and one of our daughters when she took her last breath.”


Mark Daniels, a Dayton area pastor, was also with his Dad, Jim Daniels when he passed from COVID on February 26th . But two of his three sisters couldn’t be because they were battling COVID and the other sister who was tested positive for it the next day. Mark says he had some great conversations with his 91-year-old Dad, an Air Force veteran, a devoted Dad and grandfather.


He had a great sense of humor. I’m still just crushed.”


David Cyphert was physically fit. He biked and ran three miles a day. He was well known in his central Ohio community where he had served as the fiscal officer for Bloom Township for more than a decade. His wife, Anne Darling Cyphert says her husband of 32 years, says he was a kind and gentle man. The last time she saw him was at the local hospital right before he was put on a ventilator.


I’m standing outside the glass window and they had the phone up to him and I went fight, fight, They gave me a thumbs up. And then I said, I love you, and he took his hand. And that was the last communication we had.”


David died December 17.


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