Jeannette Williams-Parker, nurse in a virus outbreak, dies at 48

Oct 26, 2020 Travel News

Jeannette Williams-Parker, nurse in a virus outbreak, dies at 48

This obituary is one in a series on people who died in the coronavirus pandemic. Learn about the others here.

Jeannette Williams-Parker loved 80s and 90s rock music. She played AC / DC and Prince while driving or cleaning the house. The big, loud beat spoke of its mischievous side, from childhood: the 2-year-old girl running naked in the street at bath time; the young daredevil who hurtled down the hill on her Big Wheel bike, half-scaring her mother.

Ms Williams-Parker, known to her friends as Netty, also had a caring side. She was a registered nurse for 26 years, the last 23 of them at JW Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.

“She went above and beyond her job description,” her daughter, Haley Parker, said in a telephone interview. Ms Williams-Parker once noticed that the parents of a sick child had spent long hours in the hospital, so she gave them a change of clothes and a meal.

She died on September 30 at the hospital where she worked. She was 48 years old. The cause was complications from Covid-19, her daughter said.

Ms Williams-Parker was the first nurse in West Virginia to die of the novel coronavirus, said Julie Huron, executive director of the West Virginia Nurses Association; two other nurses have since died.

West Virginia was the last state in the country to report a confirmed case of the virus on March 17, and numbers have remained low throughout the spring. But like many largely rural areas, the state has recently seen a spike in cases.

It is not known how or where Ms Williams-Parker contracted the virus. Her fiancé, Bryan Ingram, fell ill with what he initially thought was a sinus infection. Soon he and then Ms Williams-Parker tested positive for Covid-19. The Saturday before her death, she called her mother, Ruth Bagwell, to tell her that she was short of breath and had a fever. On Monday, she was taken by ambulance to hospital. Wednesday she was gone.

“She never thought that would happen to her,” Ms. Bagwell said.

Jeannette Delphia Williams was born July 17, 1972 in Fairmont, West Virginia. Her mother worked as a cook for the Marion County Board of Education. His father, Roy Williams, was a coal miner.

Ms Williams-Parker received her nursing degree from Fairmont State University and spent three years at CAMC Memorial Hospital in Charleston before going to work for JW Ruby, which serves as the primary clinical teaching and research site for West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Ms Williams-Parker was an MRI nurse supervisor and clinical nurse preceptor, teaching new RNs. When she died, she was responsible for nursing for all coordination of the pediatric anesthesia and the ultrasound MRI program. She was working on her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In addition to her mother, daughter and fiance, Mrs. Williams-Parker is survived by her stepfather, Ron Bagwell; one brother, Bill Williams; a half-brother, Christopher Bagwell; and a half-sister, Natalie Swiger. Her marriage to Brian Parker ended in divorce.

Ms Williams-Parker wanted her daughter to follow in her footsteps. Haley, who is 18, instead enrolled in a pre-med program at WVU to become a doctor.

Haley had received tuition assistance through a program for dependents of WVU Medicine employees. After her mother died, the hospital informed her in a letter that because Ms Williams-Parker was no longer an employee, Haley would no longer receive help. However, the hospital reversed its decision last week and now says it will honor its pledge.