‘HOOSIERS WE’VE LOST’: ‘Awesome father and grandfather and husband’ learns too late of diagnosis

Editor’s note: This is one of a continuing online series of profiles of the more than 12,000 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19. The stories are from 12 Indiana newspapers, including The Republic, who collaborated to create the collection to highlight the tremendous loss that the pandemic has created. The series appears daily at therepublic.com.

Name: Don Whan

City/Town: Fort Wayne

Age: 67

Died: April 3

Don Whan was devoted to his wife.

He was married 42 years to Debra Whan.

He was easy-going, an “awesome father and grandfather and husband who made friends wherever he went.

“He could strike up a conversation with anybody,” Debra Whan said in April.

That was when she last saw her husband, a sports fan who loved Purdue University. Don Whan, who had diabetes, caught what he and his wife thought was a cold in February.

He continued to struggle and, in March 2020, visited three walk-in clinics.

At the time, he did not have symptoms such as a fever or trouble breathing that are associated with COVID-19.

At a March 25 visit, he received a chest X-ray, was diagnosed with pneumonia and was sent home.

“He just didn’t get any better,” Debra Whan said.

On April 2, Don Whan asked to be taken to the hospital. He was having trouble breathing. Her husband’s heart and kidneys were failing.

On April 3, after receiving a call he was not doing well, Debra Whan rushed to the hospital to be with him.

Five minutes before she could arrive to his hospital floor, after suiting up in a gown, mask and gloves, Don Whan died — two days after their 42nd wedding anniversary.

Debra Whan learned while making funeral arrangements that Don had tested positive for COVID-19.

— Contributed by the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette