“Family is more than blood,” said Wanda Dench at Thanksgiving 2018. “These are the people you want to be with.”
The chosen family gathered this week to comfort Wanda as the coronavirus infected her and her husband and suffered a tragedy. Lonnie Dench died this week, Hinton announced late Wednesday on social media.
Wanda is undergoing a two-week quarantine, Hinton and his girlfriend said in a YouTube video. This means that she is physically separated from family and friends, said the young couple, like so many people who are separated from loved ones in the pandemic.
They may not be able to hug her, they said, but they can share their love for home-cooked meals, food from Wanda̵
And another video, Hinton promised, is on the way.
“We miss you Lonnie,” he tweeted Thursday above a video clip of one of his many reunions with Wanda and Lonnie, adding a broken heart emoji.
“He had the real heart of love, like no other,” she said in a statement to AZFamily. “He did so many friendly acts that no one has ever heard of. He was my hero. And I’m a better person because of him. ”
Last week, Hinton broke the news to fans that Wanda and Lonnie both had covid-19. Lonnie was in the hospital with pneumonia as well as the coronavirus, he said, urging his more than 60,000 Twitter followers to “send words of love and encouragement on the way.”
His request was answered. When Hinton announced Thursday that Lonnie had died on Sunday morning, he also shared that, according to Wanda, all the support had put “tremendous smiles” on Lonnie’s face.
It was a painful twist in the story that has been making headlines since 2016. Then the mix that brought Hinton into Denche’s life was quick when Hinton asked for a photo from the woman who said she hoped to see him at her house at 3 p.m.
“You’re not my grandmother,” he texted back, an emoji added to convey his laughter.
Hinton said he was joking when – after confirming that the unknown number wasn’t actually his grandmother – he texted: “Can I still get a plate?”
“Of course you can,” Dench said. “That’s what [grandmas] do … feed each one. ”
She lived 25 minutes away in Mesa, Ariz. Hinton accepted the offer.
“She was very sweet and open,” Hinton told The Post 2017. “I thought,” I can’t really accept such an offer. “
Their relationship included much more than the annual meal where they snapped Thanksgiving selfies. To the fans’ delight, they also came together to grill and went to Benihana’s dinner date.
“She’s a good cook and she’s a good person to just hang out with,” Hinton told Time last year as the latest collaboration approached. His favorite dishes from Dench’s kitchen: her turkey and green bean stew.
Their families got to know each other. Hinton started taking his girlfriend, Mikaela, to dinner. The 2019 holiday brought Dench to Mikaela’s aunt, he told “Good Morning America.” Also present: The monopoly set that Hinton says he received from Dench as a gift.
“We don’t watch TV or anything. We just sit at the table for a couple of hours and talk all the time and tell stories and see how we have been, he told Time. “The time that just flies, we don’t even realize how long we’ve been there. They’re really good companies.”
At last year’s celebration, partly captured on video, the family members were related as Hinton flipped through a scrapbook from Dench.
Someone offered to meet again for Sunday dinner when the pictures ended with Lonnie Dench saying goodbye hugs on the porch.