‘I had to bury my husband because of COVID’: Widow of GRTC bus driver reminds others to follow safety protocols


RICHMOND, Va.(WRIC) — Tracey Thrower says she misses her husband’s “bubbly smile,” and “loving personality,” on Wednesday, speaking for the first time since the GRTC bus operator passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

Describing her husband, John Thrower as a dedicated essential worker, she says he put his life on the line to provide a service for the GRTC community.

“He was very afraid of going. He would worry about it all the time,” Thrower said. “He would come home talking about ‘I’m scared I might catch this.'”

On August 16, Thrower tested positive for the disease. Thrower was put on a ventilator and died on September 23. His wife says he wore a mask, gloves, and took his own precautions but still caught the disease.

On Wednesday, she issued a plea to GRTC passengers to follow safety protocols, believing that non-compliance led to her husband contracting the virus.

“They weren’t taking the same precautions,” she said of some GRTC passengers. “Some people were taking their mask off. Some people were sitting close to the drivers. Some people were going through the front door when they needed to go through the back door. There was no limit. The buses were crowded.”

She is also urging locals to take the virus more seriously.

“People think it’s not real,” Thrower said. “They think it’s a hoax, but it’s not. My husband is gone. I had to bury my husband because of COVID. People wake up, please.”

Despite the trying time, Thrower said she is thankful for the support she has received from the community.

On Wednesday, the United Communities Against Crime will host a vigil to celebrate Thrower’s husband at Broad Rock Park. Located at 4802 Warwick Road, the vigil will begin at 5 p.m. Guests are asked to bring candles and black/gold/white balloons because Thrower’s favorite football team was the Steelers.

Anyone who attends is asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.


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