Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced that her mother, Elrita “Rita” McClary Warren has passed away due to complications from congestive heart failure and a COVID-19 infection that she acquired while she was hospitalized.
The elder Ms. Warren contracted COVID-19 while being treated in the hospital for her heart condition.
Ms. Warren was 71 and a native of Kingstree, South Carolina. She was living locally.
The city announced the passing in a news release Nov. 25.
“Our family was my mother’s passion,” Mayor Warren said in the news release. “She was always guiding us, fighting for us and living for us each day. Her love for her children and grandchildren was boundless; and, she had plenty of love left over. As my sister Yantise always said, ‘Our mother never met a stranger.’ Whether in the grocery store or at church, our mother always had a kind word and she loved to grow her circle of friends.”
Ms. Warren was known for her dedication to the geriatric patients she cared for during her career in health care. “My mom always wanted her patients to know that someone truly cared for them and that they were not forgotten,” the mayor said. “She wanted them to know that they weren’t alone and that they were still valued. That was tremendously important to her.”
Mayor Warren wants her mother’s passing to be a clarion call to the community to re-double efforts for people to protect their circles and continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to her heart condition, my mother was tremendously careful about practicing behaviors to avoid catching the coronavirus,” the Mayor said. “Still, she was infected by this insidious disease. This is a stark reminder that COVID-19 can infect anyone, at any age, at any time and that we all need to wear masks, practice social distancing and make smart decisions about where and how we gather. We will only end this pandemic when all of us start doing the right things to stop this spread.”
During a news conference Nov. 19 about the surge in local cases, the mayor said her mother had been hospitalized for more than month. “First for congestive heart failure and now, she’s on a ventilator fighting for her life because of the virus. Just as this virus has hit my family, I know that it’s touched your family.”
At the news conference, the mayor said she previously lost an uncle to COVID-19.
“I don’t want this community to forget that each positive test, each hospitalization, each death is someone’s mother or son, father or daughter, aunt, uncle, grandmother, or grandchild.”
Ms. Warren is survived by her two daughters; Yantise Jenkins and Mayor Lovely Warren; their spouses Bernard Jenkins and Timothy Granison; and five grandchildren; Christopher Jenkins, Collin Jenkins, Cayla Jenkins, Necollia Jenkins and Taylor Granison; and goddaughter Vanessa Stanley.