William E Durr Branch, Kenton County Public Library July 6 – August 6, 2021
Project Description: Earlier this year, we asked library patrons to submit photos of loved ones who died during the pandemic. Then we recruited a group of local artists to produce portraits of the deceased. The 24 portraits on the wall are a result of this project. At the time of this writing, over 600,000 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19. That’s 600,000 people who died too soon. This project is a humble effort to not only remember some of the people who have passed, but to memorialize them, with honor and dignity.
Portrait Descriptions: The writing that accompanies each portrait was submitted by people close to the deceased.
His name is James Hunt and he lost his battle with ALS in August 2020. The ALS battle was made even harder with the Covid pandemic – loss of visitors, ability to travel, less caregivers able to help out at home. Jim was a wonderful man. My Mom misses him every day.
(Artist: Katelyn Wolary)
This is my Mawmaw. She passed away a few days before Christmas after being hospitalized with Covid. She was the most loving and caring grandma anyone could have and her loss has hit my family hard.
(Artist: Brad Davis)
This is my grandmother, Elizabeth Hooks. She was such a beautiful, strong and compassionate person. She passed on December 14th, 2020 due to Covid and pneumonia complications. She was 81 years old. She will forever be in our hearts, we love you Maw!
(Artist: Katelyn Wollary)
Coronavirus has taken a toll on my family and myself. This is a picture of my grandpa the last time he saw my kids before he moved to Oklahoma. He lost his life to Covid and as a nurse myself I knew how hard it was and had to coach my family how to get through the grief and pain. My grandpa goes by Poppy. He was an engineer. He loved to watch baseball and other sports. He’s a grandfather to 5 grandkids and 2 great grandkids. He basically raised me, he took me to all of my father daughter dances growing up as I didn’t have a father in my life. He was a great man, loved and missed by many.
(Artist: Sam Haring)
My mother in law Sharon F. Hunt was taken from us far too soon from COVID-19. She was a long time resident of Milford, Ohio (suburb of greater Cincinnati). Sharon was a teacher and retired Aug 1st this year. She was planning to enjoy retirement and travel with my father in law, but ended up in the hospital and on a ventilator later that month. Sharon passed away as a direct result of Covid 19 on September 25th, 2020. She devoted all her years as an elementary language arts teacher at Reading Schools. Many stories were shared with us about how Sharon fostered the love of reading to hundreds of children during her time as a teacher. My mother in law was never given the chance to spend her first retirement check. This has been an unexpected tragedy in our family and has shook all of us to our core.
(Artist: Polly Hart)
JoAnn Cundiff was a resident of Ivy Knoll Senior Community. She contracted COVID-19 in June, 2020 and passed away in late July, 2020. JoAnn was a loving and caring friend to all and a very generous person. She is missed by all that knew and loved her.
(Artist: Adam Mysock)
This is my father, William “Bill” Bailey. He passed away September 18, 2020 at age 72 from COVID. My father was a Vietnam Veteran and a Purple Heart recipient. He retired from the EPA after 30 plus years of service. He left behind a wife, two sons, one daughter, three granddaughters and many family and friends. He was a wonderful man who loved animals and nature. He was caring and would do anything to help out anyone he could.
(Artist: Ellina Chetverikova)
The kindest soul. The warmest hugs. The heartbeat of your large family! Sheila, you are so very missed by us all! Sheila lost her battle with COVID in April 2020. On that day, her local community lost a lifelong friend and her family lost a sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, great grandmother. She was so special to all of us and we will cherish the memories we have with her forever! Rest in Peace, Sheila! We love you!
(Artist: Rob Jefferson)
Bob, as he was known, was a loving, Godly, family man. He worked hard all of his life and worked even harder at making those he knew have a better life.
(Artist: Jim Ebbeler)
My father, Paul Blau passed away 12/10/20 of Stage 4 Brain cancer, Glioblastoma. He survived just shy of 6 months from his Diagnosis. He loved coaching softball and was a coach at Simon Kenton High School. He was a dedicated employee with Holiday Inn on Mineola Pike for 45 years. Everyone knew him as Santa too, and he loved seeing the children and adults smile! He loved his 3 granddaughters, Taylor, Kendall and Jordan, and made every day special for them. Amanda and Alicia are his daughters. He lost his wife, my mother, Barbara, 8 years ago. He wasn’t able to golf with his buddies so they came over every Sunday to spend time with him. He spent most weekends watching his granddaughter Kendall play softball on his tablet.
(Artist: Christian Schmit)
This is my father James M. Steely, Jr. (5/27/1949-12/27/2020) Diehard Bengals fan, win or lose. Loving Husband for more than 51 years. His legacy is his love for his family. He loved his kids, grandkids, and great grandson more than anything. He loved BIG and everyone was special to him and they all became family. He’s missed so much it hurts. ♡
(Artist: Angela Livezey)
Scott enjoyed the outdoors and spent many hours kayaking on any river or creek he could find. He loved a variety of music and attended concerts at every opportunity with family and friends. Scott was looking forward to the birth of his first grandchild in February.
(Artist: Ron Prigat)
We lost a great man in September. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and so much more. He is incredibly missed. Timothy Faulkner of Florence KY, 10/20/58-9/21/20. (Artist: Richard Luschek)
This is my Dad, Raymond David Wallace. We lost him to COVID on Monday, January 11th. He had been in the hospital since Dec 21st fighting this horrible virus. He fought so hard against this but it just got to be too much. We miss him so much already. He was an auto mechanic his whole life until he retired. He was a proud Marine during the Vietnam Era. He loved camping, fishing, cars, photography and was the ultimate family man. His family was everything to him. Mom and Dad were married 51 years and they met when they were 10 years old growing up on 8th street. He leaves behind his wife (Joyce), my sister (Joby), my brother-in-law (Jerry), myself (Damian), my wife (Mollee), and 5 granddaughters that he absolutely adored, along with a bunch of family and friends. Dad is 72 years old and he lived his whole life in Covington, Kentucky except for the years he was in the Marine Corps. He loved this area.
(Artist: Marylin Wilson)
John Elliott was a teacher at Detroit Public Schools and the first African American to serve as president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. He started teaching in Detroit Public Schools in 1961, and led the DFT from 1981-2001. He passed away on Wednesday, April 8.
(Artist: Scott Ramming)
My grandmother spent two months in the hospital and died of Covid complications. We recently had a family friend (age 53) pass 4 days before Christmas from Covid. So much heartache in 2020. My grandmother, Alice Sparks, was a friend to everyone, supported causes too vast to name in full, was a generous philanthropist, loved horses and racing, politics and education. She was known for her laughter and wit and friendships and love of a good time.
(Artist: Sam Haring)
Louis Horn, Jr died November 17 from COVID-19 and pneumonia. He was 65. He is survived by his three sons – Lou, Andy and Dusty, as well as his grandchildren Kate, Scott, Vince, Wyatt and Kent. He was known as Papa Lou to all his grandchildren. Lou was a St. Bernard, OH resident. Lou loved sweet tea served with lots of ice. He had a huge heart and was a friend to all.
(Artist: Katie Baker)
Our Mom Sydney Terrell was such a special person. She was the kind of Mom that let our friends hang out at our house and if it was dinner time – get a plate because you were staying to eat. She retired from Northern KY Community Action Commission after many years of helping 100’s of people in need of work, food, heat, whatever it might be. She continued that work volunteering in various aspects long after retiring. Our Mom was a devout Catholic and loved her church parish, St. Augustine in Covington. Our Mom was the center of our world, our children’s world and even her friends – she still attended monthly lunches with groups from her grade school, St. Aloysius and high school LaSalette.
(Artist: Christian Schmit)
Henry J. Sellmeyer
Henry J. Sellmeyer passed away from COVID-19 on December 16, 2020 at the age of 40. He was a husband, son, grandson and brother.
(Artist: Samantha Amoroso)
This is my grandma, Shirley Gaige. She passed away in May from complications from COVID. She would have been 85 in July. She is a mother of 4, a grandmother of 15 and a great grandmother of 11, the last being born this year just 9 days after her birthday. She had the best smile and laugh. She loved to sing and we swore she knew just about every song.
(Artist: Emil Robinson)
Larry Keene was a strong and gentle soul with a fierce love of his family. He had a passion for learning and loved teaching his children his seemingly limitless skills and spending as much time with them as he could. He was a tireless craftsman and taught himself the art of stained glass, how to build his own home, how to make or fix just about anything. His relentlessly positive and always humorous outlook on life despite enormous obstacles was an inspiration to anyone who knew him. His dedication to his children and wife was absolute. He was the kind of husband and father that everyone should have. Larry carried a quote around in his wallet for years: “A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it – A song’s not a song ’til you sing it – Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay – Love isn’t love ’til you give it away.” It was something that he lived every day. He lived his life and gave his love unselfishly, patiently, and kindly. He is missed daily by his family and his presence will especially be missed by his six young grandchildren as they grow. Larry was only 68 years old when he was taken by COVID-19. (Artist: Ellina Chetverikova)
Mariano Caselli was a lithographer. Work was his life. His family was the center of his affection. His family, friends, and colleagues hold his memory in their hearts.
(Artist: Jonathan Queen)
Clarence Orick was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 17, 1917 and passed away due to complications from Covid at the age of 103 on January 6, 2021. He was a World War II veteran, having served in the Army Corps of Engineers. A bricklayer by trade, he went on to become a custom home builder in the greater Cincinnati area. He raised six children, five daughters and one son, and at the time of his death had 22 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He was dearly loved, admired and respected by all who knew him. (Artist: Carl Samson)
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project, especially the generous families and friends of the deceased, and the artists who applied their great skill.