Eye on KELOLAND: More than a number


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The state of South Dakota has now seen 375 deaths because of COVID-19. October has been the deadliest month since the beginning with more than 100 lives lost. We want to bring you the stories behind those numbers.

In the snapshot of Charlotte Hoverstadt’s life, you’d see a 70-year-old woman who grew up in Lennox, graduated from SDSU and taught Home Economics for 32 years in Webster. She was a mother to two, grandma to five and an author of two cookbooks.

“Pretty young, pretty vibrant, she was like, the leader of everything in her community. She was the President of the American Legion Auxiliary. She was very active, in the past she had led the Catholic Daughters in Webster. She was in a progressive reading circle, the Red Hat Ladies. On the state level, she did Catholic Daughters things, I mean, she organized blood drives and pillow cleanings,” Hoverstadt’s daughter Adrienne McKeown said.

In the snapshot of Bob Glanzer’s life, you’d see a 74-year-old man with a background in teaching, coaching, banking, politics and more. He was a father of two and a grandpa to five.

“You know, when you look at a quintessential South Dakota guy, that was him. He went to college in Kansas and moved back and didn’t move away and put so much into the way he lived in this state,” Bob Glanzer’s son Tom Glanzer said.

But in the last seven months, to some, they’ve become numbers — just two of more than 300 lives lost in South Dakota because of COVID-19.

“She was upset about becoming a statistic. She goes, ‘oh, I’m just gonna be a statistic now,’ or whatever. That’s when we still thought she was gonna recover and bounce back from this like she had from other operations and stuff, but it’s not just numbers,” McKeown said.

Glanzer was one of the first lives lost in the state.

“The more he’s gone, the more you start to realize how much he meant to you and I think that’s probably the same for anyone who loses a loved one,” Tom Glanzer said.

It was an unexpected loss for his family.

“When dad got sick, it was just one of those things where you just thought, well, he just needs some fluids, he’ll get back out and our life will go on. But that wasn’t the case. We ended up never talking to him again, not being able to be there with him. So, that’s hard things. I can only probably compare it to losing someone to a heart attack, an aneurysm, a car accident, things like that, where you don’t get any closure. You don’t get a minute to tell that person how much you love them before they go,” Tom Glanzer said.

Hoverstadt passed away more recently from the virus.

“She was so cautious about wearing a mask everywhere she went and she had even only gone back to church once and sat in the choir room with her mask on, otherwise she had been watching church online. So she was very, very careful — but she let her guard down just one time and took the mask off and got exposed in mid-September,” McKeown said.

Her daughter says the sickness was fast.

“It just progressed so quickly that she ended up with double pneumonia and went into the hospital in Webster and they transported her down here to Sioux Falls. She was in the hospital down here about a week, a week and a day, before she passed. So, from the time we believe she was exposed to the day she died was about 19 days,” McKeown said.

Each life lost during this pandemic is more than just a number.

“I’m completely proud of the life my dad lived and so many people that, you know, you look up to in life, you know you’ll never live up to them. That’s one guy you can’t even start to think that man, I want to be as successful as my dad, you just almost like, well, hopefully, I can be half as good as him, right,” Tom Glanzer said.

“Having tea parties with the grandkids and reading them stories and singing bedtime songs. She loved to sing bedtime songs and I wish I would’ve recorded that because when she’d come down here to Harrisburg to visit, my kids would always say, ‘grandma, sing bedtime songs,’ and it didn’t matter how tired she was. She’d sit on the bed and sing with them and it’s like, I don’t know, you won’t hear the voice anymore,” McKeown said.

Each number is a voice that will no longer be heard, a hug no longer given and a person no longer with us.

“I travel a lot for my job and there’d be times where I get bored with the radio, or whatever, and I would literally just call dad. It would be an hour and a half later, he’d ask ‘where you at’ and I’d tell him and he’d say, ‘oh I’ll talk to you for a little bit longer, I’ll get you all the way home.’ That’s the relationship we had and it’s the relationship that I’ll strive to have with my kids as well,” Tom Glanzer said.

“You know, you go out and get groceries or whatever and you see moms and daughters talking and whatever and it’s just like, you just want to, say to them ‘don’t take it for granted because once it’s gone, it’s gone.’ I’m sure everybody feels that way after someone they love passed away, that you took things for granted and wish you could do things over. She was, she was just a neat lady. She made the world a better place and at the end of the day, I think that’s what we all aspire to do, is just show love for one another,” McKeown said.

And if you are fighting the virus now, have recovered or have lost a loved one to it — we invite you to share your stories with us by emailing ushare@keloland.com.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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