To those who knew them, Stuart and Adrian Baker were the kind of people “who did things unconditionally,” said their son-in-law, Antonio De Corral.
“They were wonderful people, who had a lot of friends and family, always willing to help out, and were very loved by their neighbors here and in New York and other areas.”
But then they got sick from coronavirus.
And after 51 years of marriage, the New York couple who retired to Tuscany Bay outside Boynton Beach, died with one another, just six minutes apart from the virus that has killed nearly three dozen people in Palm Beach County.
Like many who have suffered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, they felt sick but were sent home.
In early March, they went to their doctor and were sent home, their son, NFL agent Buddy Baker told CNN. They didn’t get better.
So they went to Bethesda Hospital East in Boynton Beach. They were sent home and told to self-quarantine, which they did, CNN reported.
But they didn’t get better.
Baker, who could not be reached Saturday, told CNN that he would call to check on his parents regularly, but their health didn’t seem to be improving. One day, they seemed to be on the up, and then the next day, they’d be feeling worse again.
Their health slipping, on March 19, they were told to return to the hospital. Baker’s father, who had a fever and also had asthma, was admitted, CNN reported. His mother, who did not have a fever, was not.
As Stuart Baker’s health declined, his wife, at home, remained non-symptomatic, but her condition worried her children, CNN reported.
On March 24, the family was told that Stuart had tested positive for coronavirus and shortly thereafter a doctor said he was not expected to recover.
His wife’s condition deteriorated quickly. She too went to Bethesda East and she, too, was admitted with low oxygen levels. Soon, family members were told she was not expected to survive, CNN reported.
Buddy Baker and his sister had their parents admitted to hospice care. They were allowed to share a room, where they died together within six minutes of one another on March 29.
Buddy Baker posted a video on Twitter where he said he hoped that the deaths of his parents, “who were in perfect health” before contracting the virus, “becomes a catalyst for change.”
In the spirit of the couple’s lifetime of generosity, their family has sponsored a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for scholarships for kids who live in the New York City housing projects where Stuart grew up, said De Corral, who confirmed CNN’s account of his in-laws’ passing.
And they’re hoping that the tragedy of their death together in hospice will be a powerful lesson about the seriousness of the virus that killed them.
“Stay at home and protect yourself,” said De Corral, who lives with his wife Sheri — the late couple’s daughter — and their children near Wellington. “We don’t even go out to get groceries. We do delivery. We take a couple of walks in the neighborhood. But don’t go into any stores. If you can, work from home. Don’t go visit family members unless they need help. It’s better to just stay clear.
“The fact that they both passed away minutes apart of each other will make people realize how serious this is.”
The money they raise will go to an incoming college student from the Queensbridge Houses, a public housing community in Long Island City, Queens, where Stuart lived for the first six years of his life.
He “later taught and coached kids from this area for his entire professional career, became a staple in this community and … impacted many lives,” the GoFundMe website says. The fund is also meant to “be used to help find a cure for the horrible disease which took their lives.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the fund had exceeded its $25,000 goal.
Meanwhile, the family’s anger is apparent. On social media Saturday, Buddy Baker posted: “I am so sick of press conferences, speeches and social media postings by our alleged leaders that lack empathy, blame others and quite frankly are filled with lies.”
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De Corral wants the public to wake up to the horrors of a disease that has now afflicted more than 1 million people worldwide.
“The virus really attacks all the weak spots in your body, whether you’re young or old. It’s nothing to be taken lightly,” De Corral said. “If it wasn’t for this virus, my in-laws would have lived another 10 years. They had no complications, and the virus immediately found their weak spots. It could happen to anybody, even if you don’t know what underlying weak spots you have. It will find them.”
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