State Watch

Owner of diner that stayed open despite lockdown dies of COVID-19

John Parney Sr., a Quincy, Mich., diner owner who kept his business open in defiance of COVID-19 lockdown orders, has died from complications from the virus, NBC affiliate WLIX reported

Parney, 62, died on Dec. 14 after fighting the disease for nearly two months.

According to a GoFundMe page created by his family, Parney was first hospitalized for three days in late September after contracting the virus. 

Two days after he was discharged, his family said they found him incoherent and confused and took him back to the hospital.

The GoFundMe page added that Parney was unvaccinated prior to testing positive for COVID-19, but told family members while he was sick that he planned to get the shot because the virus “was worse than any training he endured in the military.”

In December 2020, Parney reopened the diner he co-owned with his wife, Paula, even though doing so violated the partial shutdown put in place by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, according to local outlet MLive.com.

In explanation, Parney said he had opened the diner in order to pay the costs for his wife’s cancer treatment and to keep the business afloat, per MLive.com.

“My wife’s fighting stage-four colon cancer,” Parney said, according to the outlet. “We depend on this restaurant to help subsidize billing and all of that. My employees need that. Of course, if I’d have stayed closed much longer, I’d have lost the business.”

In addition to running the diner, Parney also worked as a full-time employee at the FireKeepers Casino and Hotel and was a U.S. Marine veteran, MLive.com reported.

The news of Parney’s death comes as his wife continues to undergo cancer treatment.

Tags COVID-19 COVID-19 lockdown John Parney Sr. Michigan Paula Parney Quincy

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