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: John Jumos
Died: May 4
John Jumos, a resident of Evansville, was just 53 when he died on May 4 after acquiring COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
He came to Evansville to join a large community from the Marshall Islands in 2010. It is a place pocked by World War II bombing, post-war nuclear testing and lack of opportunities — but there, friends say, Jumos was the descendant of royalty.
“His great-great grandmother was the queen of Marshall Islands,” said Evansville resident Veronica Malachi, Jumos’s cousin and wife of his close friend, the Rev. Johnson Malachi.
Jumos and Johnson Malachi grew up together on the Marshall Islands. Jumos moved here from California about 10 years ago when he learned that Johnson Malachi was here, his cousin said. Jumos and his wife faithfully attended Malachi’s church, Cornerstone Marshallese Assembly of God.
Veronica Malachi described Jumos as a good man, kind. She said every time he came he mowed her lawn. He helped everyone, she said. All the Marshallese knew Jumos.
Jumos’ royal lineage in the Marshall Islands may not have translated into wealth in America. He was not employed, Veronica Malachi said, although he did enjoy working on cars as a mechanic. She pointed to a nondescript apartment building a stone’s throw from her house where she said Jumos lived a few years ago.
— By the Evansville Courier Press