ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – The family has confirmed the identity of the woman who died Friday morning from COVID-19 at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.
Gloria Merculief, 63, died after testing positive for COVID-19. Her family wants her to remember more than the virus and says that a friend described her best as a “beautiful soul, accepting, peaceful and calm.”
Merculief was also known as Glo, Glo-Bug, Strawberry Girl, Gloodge and Glory.
“Gloria was known for her light giggle and good-natured spirit and she loved to laugh until tears rolled down her face,” the family said in a written statement.
Merculief had battled Alzheimer’s disease before she started feeling flu-like symptoms last Saturday. She tried to rest at home but had to go to ANMC on Monday.
The doctors suggested that Merculief be tested for COVID-19. She tested positive and was sent home to quarantine.
Her health continued to decline.
Merculief was brought back to the hospital on Wednesday as she struggled to breathe. Her condition worsened.
The family could not lie by her bed during her last days.
“We wanted to thank the nurses at ANMC for being there with Gloria when we couldn’t. We asked them to play her music, especially the song, ‘You Are My Sunshine,'” the family said.
“They held the phone up to Gloria’s ear while her brother talked to her and prayed with her and did it again so that her husband would express her last words of love to her. The hardest part of all this, besides Gloria’s suffering, was knowing that she was without a family during her last hours. “
Gloria Jane Merculief died at 940 on Friday morning.
She lived in Anchorage but her family says she hasn’t traveled out of state recently. She also practices good social distance and rarely went out.
“It is unknown how she got COVID-19 but it probably happened when she and her husband were running errands,” the family said. “We will never really know.”
Merculief’s family advised others to follow health orders to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that social distancing at this time is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus to those you love and to those who are most vulnerable.”
“Our ancestors and elders pass on wisdom and practice on how to be a good person, embedded in these practices are examples of responsibility for yourself and others, sharing and caring, mutuality and a deep love and respect for each other and the country,” writes family. “We see acts of compassion and service every day in our communities during this challenging time and it inspires hope for the future.”
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