Remembering The First Lives Lost To COVID-19 In St. Louis

March 08, 2021

Missouri hit its 1-year mark since the first confirmed coronavirus case was announced in St. Louis County. But after the first case, other cases quickly followed and, unfortunately, the first coronavirus-related deaths as well. A year ago today, Missouri Governor Mike Parson came to St. Louis to announce the state’s first confirmed coronavirus case. a now 21-year-old woman from West County. Mark Eason’s sister, Juanita Graham, was one of the first in St. Louis County to die of the virus on March 28. Eason said she died just two days after testing positive at St. Mary’s Hospital in Clayton. “It’s like being in a movie, then three days later they said she was gone and no one could reach her,” said Eason. Eason, a pastor at Grace Bible Church in Florissant, said his sister fulfilled God’s mission through her work as a teacher. Graham was known for treating the students she taught at the Walter Ambrose Family Center preschool like the children she never had. “She was excellent not only in school, but also in her ward and church. She taught Sunday school for children, she was an advocate for children,” Eason said.

COVID-19 Vaccine: Learn where to find it in the St. Louis area and how to enroll

This is where people in the St. Louis bi-state area can find information about coronavirus vaccines: Graham left behind a loving husband and several siblings. She was one of the first of over 2,000 people in St. Louis County to die of COVID-19 to date. In St. Louis City, COVID-19 has claimed over 430 lives. One of the first to die from the virus was 31-year-old Jazmond Dixon, a Red Cross employee. After her death, Dixon’s cousin Belafae Johnson said he had no idea what the next year would bring. “I have literally conducted interviews with news networks and networks around the world, in the Middle East, and with news networks in Japan. It was very sobering to think that she was one of the first,” said Johnson. Throughout the dark ages and grief, both Johnson and Eason said that their faith and family support helped them deal with it. “I believe in my heart, the only hope that lies in this world is in God’s Son, Jesus Christ,” said Eason. In Juanita Graham’s name, there is a scholarship fund that benefits Webster Groves High School seniors. Click here if you want to donate.

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