A Rancho Peñasquitos man, who weeks earlier learned he was going to be a first-time grandfather, is one of the latest San Diego residents to succumb to COVID-19, according to his family.
Jerry Wilson, 63, was a health technician at Twin Peaks Middle School in Poway for 19 years. He died Monday morning.
“He was very kind. He was very loving. He was my best friend and we did everything together,” said his wife Judy Wilson.
The couple had flown to Texas on June 18 to visit their son and his wife, who surprised them with news that they were expecting their first child in February.
Judy Wilson recounts the story, remembering how they were led to a bedroom.
“The door was closed, and when we opened up the door, there laid a quilt that my mother had made. It was a little baby quilt. And there was a sign and a teddy bear and it said we were going to be grandparents for the first time,” said Judy Wilson.
The Wilsons returned home on June 28. Jerry Wilson began to show symptoms of the virus July 4 -- it started with sneezing and congestion and eventually led to pneumonia.
Two days later, Judy Wilson began to exhibit symptoms. Eventually, the couple, their younger son, and his wife all tested positive for COVID-19.
Jerry Wilson’s symptoms persisted and he was hospitalized on July 9. After what his family describes as a roller coaster of health news, he passed away Monday morning.
“It was a very, very difficult journey. I was not able to talk with my husband. We couldn’t go see him. I had to rely on nurses and doctors for all of my information,” said Judy Wilson.
The families journey has been documented on a GoFundMe page.
The family wants to put out a message to the community at large.
“I wish people would just wear their masks, keep their distance, and mostly, if you are feeling ill, please isolate. I want to encourage everybody to understand this Coronavirus is a real thing,” said Judy Wilson.
“I just want people to know not to take symptoms lightly, but to be aware of what’s going on in yourself and seek help,” said Justin Wilson, Jerry Wilson’s younger son.
Meanwhile colleagues at the Poway Unified School District and Twin Peaks Middle school said they were devastated by news of Wilson’s death
“Going by his office all the time, he’d say ‘hey, what’s up,’” said Margo Selensky.
The school’s former principal called Wilson the "backbone of the school," who always provided a calming voice. She remembered the last time she saw him.
“He gave me this great big bear hug that only he could do. And you know, sometimes you get a hug, and it’s a hug and a quick one. His was genuine. I could feel it and that will stay with me,” said Kelly Burke.
Wilson’s family says he was known to give students his lunch, provide backpacks, and Christmas gifts.
“Having someone like that to look up to is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Jonathan Wilson, Jerry Wilson’s oldest son.