Man opens up about losing Naples grandfather to COVID-19

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Travis Hutchinson, center, with grandsons Timothy, left, and Kyle, right. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Hutchinson)

The family of a Naples grandfather who died from COVID-19 has opened up about their loss.

Travis Hutchinson, 77, and his wife of 55 years bought a vacation home in Naples last year. They excitedly showed off their home to their grandchildren just a month and a half ago.

“We just walked around the beach, went to the beach, went out to restaurants. Just had a really fun time hanging out,” said Kyle Hutchinson, who attends Penn State University.

That was the last time he would see his grandfather as Travis and his wife would later test positive for the coronavirus and end up hospitalized.

“Everybody was healthy, we were all fine. There’s no way we could have assumed anything was wrong,” Kyle said.

Shortly after he returned home, Kyle got the call that his grandparents had tested positive. He said both of them spent weeks at NCH.

“It was still pretty hard because you’re not there with them and you want to be but you can’t. And you’re still trying to do everything you can to comfort them or be there for them in some way.”

His grandmother recovered, but “my grandfather who seemed like he was doing fine was suddenly put on a ventilator and sent to the ICU.”

From hundreds of miles away, they spoke for the last time on video chat.

“I just had to tell him that we loved him a lot. He’d never know how much we cared about him,” Kyle said.

He said he wants to share his family’s painful story to present a new perspective on a pandemic that can impact anyone.

“I think a lot of people don’t necessarily know the true impact of it because it’s not in every household, which is good. But I think a lot of people don’t necessarily share the same experiences and it can affect anybody.”

Kyle said they still haven’t been able to bury his grandfather because of complications getting his body back home to New Jersey.

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