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Pastor, daughter latest victims as COVID soars

Staff writer

Family members of Jenny Craft and Jeff Lee are sorting through photographs that bring back memories of laughter as they grieve their loss.

Jenny Craft, 30, wife of Marion football coach Shaun Craft, died Friday from complication of COVID-19.

Her father, Jeff Lee, pastor of Aulne Church, succumbed to the virus days later.

“It’s a trying and devastating time to lose both — especially Jenny, because she was so young,” said Lucas Zurcher, Craft’s brother-in-law. “We all have the peace and joy of knowing where they are at.”

Expressions of sympathy for the family have flooded social media.

Marion High assistant football coach Jordan Metro said Jenny kept statistics, cooked meals, and pitched in to help the Warriors any way she could.

“She is going to be greatly missed by everyone,” Metro said.  “Our hearts are heavy for coach Craft, his family, and her family.”

Jeremiah Lange, pastor of Marion Presbyterian church, served on the Ministerial Alliance with Lee.

“Jeff was a man with a passion for the community and a passion for the Lord,” he said. “He was a good guy to be in the ministry with.”

Rick Rehmert, pastor of Gracepoint in Peabody said Lee had a charisma that made buddies out of strangers.

“He was one of those guys that was a friend from the first moment you talked to him,” he said.

Lee’s wife, Dawn, was hospitalized with her husband, but since recovered and was released a week ago.

“She is getting a little bit stronger every day,” said Zurcher.

Pastor Lee’s service is set Friday at Aulne Church. Craft’s memorial is planned for 11 a.m. Oct. 29 at the Sports and Aquatic Center.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family.

The family’s tragic loss coincides with 31 new cases of the virus in the county — third highest jump since January. Clusters of the virus have erupted this month at care centers and schools.

Five residents and two staff members of Parkside Homes in Hillsboro have tested positive for the virus, chief executive officer Kelley Laswell said.

The care home had its first positive case Oct. 14.

Parkside is only allowing compassionate care visits in its main building. Visitors must wear masks and be tested for the virus every time they visit.

Residents are encouraged to stay on campus, but are not prevented from leaving, she said.

Lisa Donahue, marketing director and fund manger for Salem Home said visitors are required to sign in , have their temperature taken, and sanitize their hands.

Face masks are mandatory and only two visitors at a time are allowed in resident’s rooms.

All residents are vaccinated with the exception of a new arrival who agreed to get the shot.

A combination of careful standards and luck has kept COVID-19 at bay, so far.

Salem has only had one positive case of the virus. Officers with St. Luke Living Center and Bethesda Home were asked about COVID-19 cases at their facilities but did not respond.

The resurgence of cases at district schools has led superintendents to alter their policies.

Four students and a staff member at Goessel Junior/Senior High School have active cases of the virus prompting Superintendent Mark Crawford to make masks mandatory in the building.

About 20 to 30 percent of Goessel’s elementary students wear masks, but they are encouraged, not mandated, he said.

Peabody-Burns, also follows a gating criteria based on the number of new cases for the wearing of masks, but requires them on its buses.

The district has three active cases, superintendent Antoinette Root said.

Hillsboro’s school district set gating guidelines based on the number of active cases after a cluster of about a dozen cases erupted at its elementary school.

District superintendent Max Heinrichs now reports four active cases at the high school and four at its elementary school.

A jump in cases caused Marion’s district board to require unvaccinated students exposed to the virus to stay home.

Aaron Homburg, district superintendent said Marion had two or three positive cases of the virus with eight quarantined at home.

Aulne Church was incorrectly identified as Aulne United Methodist Church in some editions of the paper.

Last modified Oct. 20, 2021

 

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