Windsor seniors' home worker who died of COVID-19 remembered as 'kind soul'

·2 min read
Judy Hawkins is seen in a image featured in her obituary. Hawkins died at 64 this week after contracting COVID-19.
Judy Hawkins is seen in a image featured in her obituary. Hawkins died at 64 this week after contracting COVID-19.

(Families First - image credit)

Judy Hawkins is being remembered as the kind of person who could embody the sun — "warm, steadfast and present."

Those are the words Tigrena Domi, general manager of Shoreview at Riverside Retirement Residence, shared in a comment posted under an obituary for Hawkins, who died on Feb. 8.

Hawkins worked as an activity assistant at the home on Drouillard Road and died following a "hard-fought battle against COVID-19," according to the notice.

She was 64.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) announced Wednesday that a worker at a seniors' home in the region had died after contracting the virus.

Theresa Marentette, the health unit's CEO, said the employee was a woman in her 60s who worked at a long-term care home.

The death comes as the health unit gets closer to fully vaccinating workers, residents and essential caregivers at seniors' homes. A round of second doses of the Moderna vaccine at long-term care and retirement homes is expected to be complete next week.

"It is unfortunate and it's very sad," Marentette said. "And that is something we continue to see every day, the deaths continue to occur."

There have been 348 COVID-19 deaths in Windsor-Essex since the pandemic began, 225 related to long-term care and retirement homes.

Hawkins is the second seniors' home worker to lose their life to COVID-19. On Dec. 31, personal support worker at Berkshire Care Centre, Sheila Yakovishin, died after contracting the virus.

'A great loss'

Reached by phone, Domi described Hawkins as a "kind soul" who will be missed deeply, before pointing to her comment below the obituary where she had laid out her thoughts.

In it, she writes about Hawkins and her unique ability to open her heart to care and advocate for those who were suffering or lonely.

"Judy has left a legacy through her work, her character but most of all through her ability to see pain and go out of her way to elevate it," Domi wrote in part.

"This is a great loss that brings forth unbearable pain. But the very existence of it speaks to Judy's ability to touch everybody's life she came in contact with. It speaks to the person and the character she possessed."

An outpouring of love, memories and support has also been shared on social media in response to posts about her death.

"Judy embodied the qualities of the sun, always warm, steadfast and present," Domi wrote. "And just like the sun when it goes away, she too will cast a big shadow."