CANTON, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakota has seen more than 94,000 cases of COVID-19, and more than sixteen hundred deaths.
On November 3rd, Tom Winter of Canton, South Dakota, became another person on the list of COVID-19 deaths in the state.
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“His smile is one of them. He had a very contagious smile. His hugs,” Denise Winter, Tom Winter’s daughter said.
“His hugs,” Diane Holmberg, Tom Winter’s daughter said.
Winter was 79 years old. He worked for Lincoln County and worked his way up to highway superintendent. He also had a passion for race car driving; he was inducted into the Huset’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
“People would stop, even these young drivers, they would stop and talk to him before they’d go race because they said they didn’t feel right on the race track unless they talked to him before they raced,” Denise Winter said.
The father of five, grandpa of 12 and great-grandpa of 15 also had a big sweet tooth.
“When we’d wake up from the day after Halloween, all of the Snickers bars were gone from our candy,” Feucht said.
“We did not get Snickers,” Denise Winter said.
His children have many fond memories of growing up with their dad.
“Just being brought up the way our parents raised us, you know,” Denise Winter said.
“We were lucky,” Bill Winter, Tom Winter’s son said.
“We were taught many things. Ethics, values, faith, obedience,” Feucht said.
“Right up to the end too. If he could’ve, he would’ve done anything to help any one of us,” Bill Winter said.
There was only six days between the day Winter was diagnosed with COVID-19 and the day he passed away.
“I think the hardest thing, or one of the hardest things for everybody is, that he layed there alone,” Frances Winter, Tom Winter’s wife said.
“That eats at me daily. Everyday you think of that. What was he thinking? Was he, I mean, he had to be lonely. We weren’t there, he was always around family all the time. I mean, was he scared, was he this or that, I mean,” Denise Winter said.
“Well you don’t get that final goodbye,” Feucht said.
Winter wasn’t the only one taken from their family. They also lost a cousin and a sister-in-law to COVID-19.
“I know everyone’s entitled to opinions, but we also have a calling to love each other and the fact that, until you’ve hit this loss, or you’ve suffered that because of that, you don’t realize what’s really going on behind it and what it entails and the suffering with it,” Feucht said.
We want to hear from people impacted by COVID-19. Help us take a look beyond the numbers by emailing us at Ushare@keloland.com.