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South Bay woman mourns COVID-19 death of boyfriend, 'second chance' at love

Posted at 4:22 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 22:06:01-04

(KGTV) -- A South Bay woman is mourning the death from COVID-19 of her boyfriend and her 'second chance' at love.

Derik Williams started feeling sick in early July.

"Felt very fatigued, no cough," said Carol Althoff.

Five days later, Althoff, his girlfriend of four years, brought him to the ER.

"Outside, they took his temperature and it was 101°.

Williams was admitted and put on a sleep apnea CPAP device to help him breathe. A few days later, she got a call.

"He called home and he was his old self. 'Hi, babe, how are you?'" said Althoff.

She was expecting a call the next day about him coming home.

Instead, a doctor called about Williams needing to be placed on a ventilator. She talked to Willliams on the phone.

"We cried together. We said our 'I love you.' It was extremely emotional," said Althoff.

A few days later, William - a father of 4 and a grandfather - passed away, days before his 55th birthday. Althoff, whose first husband died of cancer, says she didn't think she would find love again until she met Williams a few years later.

"Derek was loving. He was happy and so giving," said Althoff.

She says the Air Force veteran was always volunteering, whether it was for The Rock Church, Stand Down, or soup kitchens.

"It was part of who he was. He wanted to be a better person, better than the person he was yesterday," said Althoff.

As for where the coronavirus came from, Althoff isn't sure. She says Williams was diligent about masks and mostly went to the grocery store and his work, an aerospace company where he worked as a forklift operator. Althoff is making an urgent plea to COVID-19 seriously.

"Please, wear your mask. If not for you, then for the person you may be encounter," said Althoff.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help with expenses.

Williams did suffer from underlying conditions, including a heart condition and diabetes.

The Rock Church issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of Derik Williams. He has been a faithful volunteer at the Rock Church for over five years. From serving on our hospitality team to greeting guests Derik was known for his infectious smile, joyful spirit and desire to help others know Christ. We are praying for his family and friends during this time that God might comfort them during their loss.

This past Sunday, the Hospitality Volunteer team had a memorial service to honor Derik Williams' life via Zoom. As people shared their thoughts and memories of Derik, one thing was clear Derik had a huge heart in being intentional about checking in on his friends/team members. He had a big smile and loved God with all his heart. We join in honoring the life and legacy of Derik alongside his family."