Justin Hunter, 17, lost both of his parents to Covid-19 within one week.
Neither of them had yet turned 60.
Justin is an area star football player and was looking forward to offers from courting colleges while enjoying his final season. But now, if football resumes, it’ll be the first season he has played without his parents on the sidelines.
Eugene Hunter Jr., 59, was an accomplished smooth jazz musician who in 2015 released an album called “It’s My Time,” while his wife Angie Hunter, 57, was a human resources executive at Primerica, a multilevel marketing company that sells insurance. The two were married for over 30 years, and Justin is their only child.
“I never really thought about losing my parents to this,” Justin said in a CNN report.
The 17-year-old said he’s not sure how they became infected. His mom Angie took every precaution when she went out since the pandemic began. She’d wear a mask and gloves whenever she went to the grocery store and disinfected groceries before bringing them back inside.
According to Justin, Eugene was the first to test positive, and his condition deteriorated so quickly that Justin could hardly believe what was happening was real. He died on July 26.
Justin said that his dad’s death tore him up. He’d hardly had time to process his grief when four days later, his mother died from coronavirus complications, too.
His heartbreak turned to anger as he’d been robbed of both parents. Justin said he’d never thought that he could lose his family to the coronavirus, especially after the precautions they took.
“They took all the right steps to make our family safe, and even doing that, they still passed away from the virus,” Justin said.
Because Justin is an only child, he said he’s working with a lawyer to determine his legal guardian, but for now, he’s staying with family. A GoFundMe set up to support him has already raised over $450,000.
While he’ll spend his entire school year online, he hopes football practice will resume as usual and will dedicate his season to his parents.
“They were very loving, very caring for anybody — I mean anybody,” he said. “They were some of the best people to be around.”
About two weeks ago, Justin tested positive for the coronavirus just after his father received his results. He was asymptomatic, but seeing how rapidly his family fell ill rattled him. He’s imploring people to wear masks, if not for themselves, then for people they may never know, like his parents.
“This virus is very real,” he said. “This is coming from someone who watched how it could take over a person’s body.”
It still doesn’t feel real that they’re gone, he said, but he’s softened in the days since they died.
“I just felt a lot better knowing that neither of them is struggling no more,” he said. “They’re together in heaven, partying it up with God.”