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caption: Mike Weatherill holds a picture of his deceased mother, Louise Weatherill, during a press conference held by family members of residents at Life Care Center of Kirkland, outside of the facility on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Kirkland.
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Mike Weatherill holds a picture of his deceased mother, Louise Weatherill, during a press conference held by family members of residents at Life Care Center of Kirkland, outside of the facility on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Kirkland.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Louise Weatherill, 85, Life Care resident who loved animals

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The puppies, especially, always put a smile on Louise Weatherill’s face. She raised German Shepherds for two decades, then later Chow-Chows, and her son Mike Weatherill said the money from her small business paid for lots of little extras when he was growing up.

“She made a lot of things possible,” he said.

Louise Weatherill, 85, was among the first cluster of deaths at Life Care Center of Kirkland. She died on Thursday, March 4, within the same week that officials announced the first deaths in the state.

Mike Weatherill said his mom was a proud member of the Cowlitz Tribe, based in Longview Washington. She was recognized as an elder when the tribe gained federal status in 2000.

He shared his thoughts about his mom’s final days with KUOW Editor Liz Jones.

“Mom loved all kinds of animals but she loved mostly dogs.

She raised German Shepherds from the early 50s to the mid-70s, and a lot of them went into the Army to be trained for Vietnam at the time. As a kid, I helped her take a lot of the puppies down to Fort Lewis and Fort Lawton. I was extremely blessed and I owe a lot of it to my mom.

January was when things started happening. She got sick and her chest x-rays were coming back negative but there was obviously something going on. She was coughing and wheezing. And then actually, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I quarantined myself at home.

At the time we were hearing about this virus going throughout China and I was thinking, ‘oh my God, I hope it's not that. No way it could be, not over here in Kirkland.’ By the time I got better, they had put a restriction on the place [Life Care] and nobody could come in.

The night my mom got worse, they were trying to call and I was knocked out and didn't hear the phone. When I finally did, they were calling to tell me she passed away.

I cry a little bit every day.

I've got several pictures of her posted on my refrigerator, so I get to see her all the time. I’ve kind of been going through the motions and haven't had a lot of time to grieve because I’ve got my dad to take care of. My dad was down there at Life Care Center until late October, and I'm glad I got him out of there otherwise he might be dead, too.

It’s just a horrible thing that happened down there. It's happening throughout the country, and unfortunately it’s hitting the nursing homes hardest. I can't stand the people that say they want to get back to being normal and stuff. I’m like, ‘No, we’ve got to hunker down.’

Mom was just a really sweet person, cared about everyone. She would always like to help out people who were down on their luck."

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