March 24, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — As the coronavirus continues to spread in North America, a Tulsa pastor with no known underlying health problems, Merle Dry, was among the first people to succumb to coronavirus in Oklahoma and United States.
Elsewhere in East Baton Rouge, the Capital City of the U.S. state of Louisiana, Rev. Leon Franklin, pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in the St. James community, was the first person to die in the global pandemic.
Rev. Leon Franklin, according to his wife, Brenda Franklin, 61, was the pastor of the small Mississippi River church for 14 years and a native of the area.
Rev. Leon is being remembered as the “big teddy bear” who “loved God and loved people in general”, mostly children.
“He was everybody’s pawpaw,” she said.
According to relatives, the 55 year old, Metro Pentecostal Church pastor, Merle Dry, and the 60 year old Rev. Leon Franklin did not have known cases of illness.
Dry was in good health before he died. He became the first person to die from the coronavirus in Oklahoma.
The Metro Pentecostal Church pastor had worked for more than 20 years before his death.
He was fighting a cold before he contracted the virus on Tuesday, according to the church. He caught pneumonia as a complication from COVID-19 and passed away on Wednesday.
Don Martin, senior pastor at Metro Pentecostal Church, confirmed the man’s identity to KTUL.
Martin said Dry had a big impact on the area. Dry was not at church the Sunday before he died, but he was there the week before.
Dry’s wife, Carrie, is a teacher at Edison Preparatory School. She and their two children, 22-year-old Jesse and 17-year-old Pamela, are being quarantined at this time.
The Oklahoma State Health Department confirmed Dry tested positive on Tuesday and passed away Wednesday.