CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - The Chesterfield Health District has announced the first death in the district related to COVID-19.
Friends and family of 60-year-old Sterling Matthews of Chester said he had to be rushed to St. Francis Hospital on Friday and died there four days later. The beloved church deacon and grandfather would have turned 61 in two weeks.
“He was a wonderful person who always had a kind word to say about others. He would always say ‘You can’t throw people away, no matter what they did’," his wife Alice Matthews said.
"He always carried himself as a gentleman, very professional. He was very passionate about helping young people. Anybody who knew Sterling knew that he personified class,” co-worker and friend Ditu Kasuyi said.
Those closest to Sterling Matthews are mourning after they say he died from coronavirus in his hospital bed.
"When it happens to somebody that you know, love and care about, it hits you hard,” Kasuyi added. The 60-year-old who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, had a passion for others, especially young people. He wanted to do all he can to position them for success.”
He posed for a photo after receiving the Presidential Volunteer Service Award signed by President Obama, recognizing his work as a mentor in Richmond through his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.
"He always went above what was required of him just to make sure I was successful. I was one of the ones he really took under his wings,” said recent college graduate Isaac Hargrove, who was just a teenager when Matthews mentored him. "Whether it was in etiquette classes or giving advice about style. He was a person that when he corrected you, you didn’t like it but at the same time you liked it because you knew he cared about you that much.”
Matthews, a beloved husband, father and grandfather was a Deacon at Moore Street Missionary Baptist in Richmond.
"Everybody loved him at the church…He just was a good friend to everybody and a good leader,” church member David Franklin said.
A leader who left a light that all who knew him will continue to hold close.
"One thing I know Sterling would want us to do is look to the future with hope and count on our faith that we can carry on his legacy and his memory in our hearts as we continue to help other people,” Kasuyi added.
“Sadly, we have experienced our first local COVID-19 related fatality. We send our sincere condolences to this person’s family,” said Chesterfield Health District Director Dr. Alexander Samuel. “Unfortunately, those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19. Everyone, especially at-risk individuals, are strongly advised to stay home whenever possible and practice social distancing to minimize contact with others.”
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