KENMORE, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — On Wednesday March 25, Walter Monahan, age 74, became the second person to lose his life to covid-19 in Erie County.
Walter's wife, Valerie, spoke by phone with Reporter Ed Reilly and said the family is coming together to grieve. The Monahan's want the public to remember Walter for his life, not just a statistic from the covid-19 public health emergency.
Walter and his wife were just days away from celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a party when he came down with a bad cold.
The Vietnam veteran, who had served on a destroyer and in the Pentagon, had COPD. During a regular exam on March 10 by doctor's at the Buffalo VA, he was found to be in good health.
Things deteriorated quickly over the month of March.
Valerie saw her husband's fingertips turning purple.
Doctor's, at first, thought the senior was developing pneumonia. He was rushed to Kenmore Mercy Hospital and put on a ventilator. The hospital was then able to test Monahan for covid-19. The results came back positive just before he died.
Valerie Monahan is now in quarantine.
Neighbors around the Monahan home in Kenmore put up signs offering support for the family. Some flags are flying at half-staff.
The grandfather of three was well-like and very active in several organizations; serving as an Eucharistic minister at St. Joseph University Parish, a docent at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer, and a former school bus driver.
"People might think, 'Oh that person has lived this long life,' and they might think that it's OK that these people passed away. But it's not," Kelly Frothingham, Monahan's daughter, told the Buffalo News during a published interview. "They were taken far too soon."
St. Joseph University Church used social media to have hundreds of people, including the Felician nuns at Villa Maria College, pray for Walter - something that offered support to the family.
Walter Monahan had previously worked for People Inc. which issued the following statement:
"Walter Monahan was a People Inc. project manager for its Facilities Department, overseeing maintenance and repairs on People Inc. Senior Living apartment buildings. He retired in March 2010, working for the health and human services agency for nearly two and a half years. Walter Monahan is remembered fondly by the People Inc. Facilities Department and Senior Living. Staff members shared that he was very knowledgeable in maintenance and repair/building systems and always willing to share his skills. As a liaison for the two departments, his positive and pleasant demeanor was appreciated. He brought the Facilities and Senior Living teams together for various projects, as he listened to concerns and spearheaded solutions. His customer service mindset and compassion greatly benefitted his staff of maintenance technicians and Senior Living tenants. He was also remembered for being very family-oriented, as he spent a lot of time talking about his grandchildren who he admired, as well as spending time riding bicycles and camping with his family. As a person, Walter was the kind of employee everyone would want on their team – skilled, caring, friendly, funny and enjoyable to work with and know."
Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Home is handling the arrangements and said a celebration of Walter's life will be held at a later date in St. Joseph University Parish.