FOX 11 colleague loses father to COVID-19

As a news anchor, I read the numbers each night on the deaths in our county tied to COVID-19. On this night, that number has a face, a photo, a family and a son. That son is one of my colleagues, Elie Shadian.

Elie is a Broadcast Maintenance Engineer.  That's a fancy title for the guy who comes to the rescue when my computer crashes! I'm sure his duties are so much more, but for me, Elie is a go-to guy in my computer emergencies. Without Elie, I wouldn't even be able to write this story on my computer.

My heart broke when I heard the news that he lost his father on Saturday to the coronavirus. Igale Shadian was 90 years old and had been living in a rehab facility after suffering from a second stroke. He took ill with the symptoms of COVID-19 six weeks ago and died Saturday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Elie is one of the sweetest guys at work. While I know we will all face the loss of a parent, few of us will have that coronavirus chapter in our family history.

In English, his father went by Igale. His Persian name was Salim. In Hebrew, relatives called him Shalom, for peace. He'd come to the U.S. from Iran in 1971 with just $165 in his pocket. He'd make a career in the garment industry. His parents had divorced but Elie's mom was still working at Men's Warehouse when the pandemic closed things down. Elie says for his parents, it was always a struggle as they raised Elie and his brother Dan.

Elie shared with me how the pandemic has interrupted Hebrew traditions in saying goodbye to a loved one. Because there are no gatherings he can't go to synagogue and pay respects to his father.