RACINE, WI – Angie Molina, the owner of the Racine Brewing Company, wants you to know about her dad Jim Wallace and how he tested positive for COVID-19. 

The reason: if you remember him and what her family is now going through, you would heed the social distancing warnings to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

For weeks, Wallace, 73, of Oak Creek, wrestled with a chronic cough. But over the years, he just loved life. He taught his children to do the same. Wallace had many friends, worked hard, and shared his opinions freely and wasn’t shy.

The veteran died Tuesday morning at his home. Hours later, the Oak Creek Health Department notified Jim’s wife (who asked that she not be named) that he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 

Still in shock, Molina wants the public to adhere to the health guidelines of social distancing. She doesn’t want anyone to have to go through what she and her family are going through.

“This is a very sneaky, tricky killer, and it’s a silent, invisible killer,” she said. 

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Jim gets sent home

Jim went into the hospital Sunday night for an unrelated health issue, While there, hospital staff tested him for COVID-19 and sent home that night.

A spokesperson with Ascension Wisconsin told the Racine County Eye there were no capacity issues at Ascension Franklin on Sunday, March 29. 

“Our goal is to protect our associates and those we are privileged to serve by limiting possible exposure to COVID-19 and directing people to the right level of care. There are some exceptions on a case-by-case basis, including labor and delivery, pediatrics, neonatal intensive care (NICU), and end-of-life care,” she said.

After coming home, Jim’s fever went down. She asked her dad how he felt.

“I don’t feel good or horrible,” Angie recalls him saying to her.

The next day Angie texted her dad and asked him if he needed anything. 

“Yes,” he said. “A jar of Wisc. Honey, if you can find some.”

On Monday, Molina delivered the honey and left it on his doorstep. 

That night, Jim slept in a chair. In the morning, Jim’s wife discovered that he had passed away.

Grieving alone

When Molina rushed to the house, officials with the Oak Creek Police Department and people from the funeral home wore heavy-duty masks and gloves. 

Later that afternoon, a person from the Oak Creek Health Department told Jim’s wife that he had tested positive for COVID-19. And she can’t leave the house for 14 days.

She and her husband Andy will close the brewery and stay in quarantine for two weeks. She calls her stepmom frequently. They have asked neighbors to call on her stepmom. 

“What I want is for people to understand how horrible it is to be quarantined alone and not be able to hold a funeral or mourn with loved ones,” Molina said. “This all just seems so completely unreal. You see it reported live on the television, but it’s just different when you live it.

“I’m still in shock, and I’m heartbroken.”

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.