SEDONA, AZ — Across Arizona, lives are getting closer to normal with half of adults now vaccinated, mask guidelines being relaxed, and cases of COVID-19 are declining week after week. But, while there’s progress, there’s still devastation as we continue losing lives to COVID-19.
Peggy Ann Riley, 60, died just four days after Mother’s Day after becoming sick with COVID-19.
Peggy, a mother of two, and broker and real estate agent in Sedona, was known for being the crazy lady running in pink shorts while it would be snowing outside.
“She was dedicated to run every day,” said her son, Kole Riley.
Kole tells ABC15 that the family thought they were out of the woods, and while his mother was inside a Cottonwood ICU, the CDC announced that they were relaxing mask guidelines.
“All I can think of is how is this happening when my mom is dying right now of COVID-19,” he said.
The Riley family tells ABC15 they'd not been vaccinated yet because family members were positive for COVID-19 in December and they assumed they all had antibodies.
Peggy was married to her husband, Bob, for four decades where they raised their two children in Sedona.
Bob was a firefighter before becoming injured and eventually teaching an automotive technology class at the high school. He is known as the rock of the family — but it was his wife Peggy who gave him that strength.
Bob said his wife would give him a hard time for showing little to no emotion as he was known as the “tough guy,” but he says there’s so much irony now.
“She always said that I was so hard, I never cried, and never had any issues, but she got me,” he said. “She said, 'One of these days I’m going to get your emotions going,' and she did.”
Bob is handicapped, and unable to work from his injury on the job — he now relies on mechanic work around Sedona to stay afloat. But now with the loss of his wife, his children are hoping to raise funds to help pay their father’s mortgage, and some bills for a few months to help relieve some of the burden.
“This fundraiser is in loving memory of Peggy Riley. All contributions, small or large, are greatly appreciated and will go directly towards Peggy's service and helping her husband Bob and their family with other costs,” the online fundraiser said.
Over $15,000 has been raised by the Sedona community in just days on the crowdsourcing site, Fundly.
The Riley family hopes sharing their story will be a reminder that while we're closer to the end of the pandemic, it is not the end yet.