Maria Vasilakis (centre) is one of 61 Victorians who have lost their lives during the coronavirus crisis.
Maria Vasilakis (centre) is one of 61 Victorians who have lost their lives during the coronavirus crisis.

The Victorian coronavirus victims mourned and missed

Today we honour the lives of just a few of the victims of the coronavirus. They are not numbers, they are real people, who worked hard, raised families and were loved.

ALF JORDAN, 90

Alf died in hospital on July 10 after falling ill at a Glendale Aged Care in Werribee. He's been honoured as "one of a kind", his heartbroken family telling how they never got to say goodbye.

Mr Jordan worked as a milk carter in Richmond with trusty horse Trigger for years and was a passionate Collingwood fan, eagerly asking anyone he met who they barracked for.

The father and stepfather to 12 children - and grandfather and great-grandfather to more than four dozen - turned 90 in May. "He was one of a kind," granddaughter Gabrielle Cordwell said. "He would cuddle you and it would just be so tight."

 

Alf Jordan.
Alf Jordan.

 

DIMITRIOS FOTIADIS, 79

Effie Fotiadis' father Dimitrios was taken to Northern Hospital from St Basil's Home for the Aged on Wednesday, more than a week after the 79-year-old tested positive for the coronavirus.

He died on Saturday afternoon after also contracting an infection.

"I didn't know what to do when I got the call. I'm devastated," Ms Fotiadis said.

Despite suffering from heart disease, Mr Fotiadis was in relatively good health before he contracted COVID-19. The father of three lived in Whittlesea before moving into the Fawkner aged care home. He was described by his family as someone who "loved to joke and have a laugh".

Ms Fotiadis said she was told her father had tested positive for the virus in St Basil's about two weeks ago. She struggled to get information about her father's condition.

"I kept trying to ring them to see what was going on but they kept hanging up on me," she said. "Someone would answer the phone … then hang up."

 

MARIA VASILAKIS, 81

Maria, a mother of two and grandmother of five, died of the coronavirus less than a week after being diagnosed at one of the city's most infected aged care homes. She died on Thursday after contracting COVID-19 at St Basil's Homes for Aged in Fawkner.

Her devastated family criticised St Basil's staff for failing to protect vulnerable residents. Footage taken by Ms Vasilakis' family showed a staff member without protective clothing handing flowers to the grandmother as she celebrated her birthday a week before she was diagnosed.

 

Maria Vasilakis.
Maria Vasilakis.

 

HARALAMBOS BAKIRTZIDIS, 79

Haralambos died on July 15 at Footscray Hospital, having fallen ill two weeks earlier.

The Maidstone man was married for almost 60 years and was just weeks away from marking his 80th birthday.

A former carpenter, Mr Bakirtzidis moved from Greece in the 1970s and helped rebuild Darwin after Cyclone Tracy.

Wife Niki, 73, said: "He will be missed by all of us. He was a very good man, talented and hardworking.

"When people had no money and their taps broke and the house was flooding he would help them for free.

"He was also loved by Indigenous communities in Darwin and helped them too."


ELAINE CAIRNS, 78

Elaine died at Dandenong Hospital on April 3, after returning from an overseas holiday. She volunteered at Mornington Railway, where members said she was like family to them.

A statement on social media by Mornington Railway read: "It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that the Mornington Railway informs its followers of the loss of a valued member of our railway family. Elaine Cairns, a friend to many of us, and a long serving member of our marketing team, came home after an overseas trip recently and passed away as a direct result of her contracting COVID-19."

 

Elaine Cairns.
Elaine Cairns.

SUMITH PREMACHANDRA, 55

The Rowville father of two and nurse worked in the disability sector. Aged just 55, he died at Dandenong Hospital. Relatives paid tribute to a "giant teddy bear" with a "gentle heart" who was working on the healthcare frontline helping others.

His family could not be at his bedside. Sharyn and Gillain Gaetano wrote in an online tribute to their father: "Our hearts are broken into a million pieces. He was the most charismatic, kind-hearted, generous, hilarious, loveable, godly and caring man you would ever meet."

GELY COSTANILLA, 84

The Berwick grandmother died at Casey Hospital on April 6. Her daughter and son-in-law were also struck with the virus.

She lived with the couple and their daughter Megan, 19, enjoying family holidays together, including a trip in January to see family in the Philippines.

Ms Costanilla was on the phone with her daughter Rachel Rojales, who was sick with coronavirus in another hospital, when she lost her battle. "The nurse was holding my mum's hand and the phone was on speaker,'' Ms Rojales said. "I was just saying: 'Mum - I love you. Be strong'. Then I said to her: 'Let me pray for you'. As soon as I said that she just passed away."

 

Gely Costanilla.
Gely Costanilla.

GIUSEPPE FRANZONI, 84

The Hillside grandfather died at Sunshine Hospital on April 17.

Remembered as a man who adored his family, he loved cards, loved soccer and was at the Italian club seven days a week.

His family begged people to take social distancing seriously as they say he was "fit as a fiddle" before contracting coronavirus.

"It was horrible, most traumatic moment not being there," Mrs Franzoni said. "It will be something we will have to live with for the rest of our lives. Now we are organising a funeral for Giuseppe and there can only be 10 of us, but there's 12 in our family."

 

Dimitrios Fotiadis.
Dimitrios Fotiadis.
Haralambos Bakirtzidis.
Haralambos Bakirtzidis.
Sumith Premachandra.
Sumith Premachandra.
Giuseppe Franzoni.
Giuseppe Franzoni.

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