The 2nd Member Of A Chicago-Area Family Has Died After Contracting COVID-19

Wanda Bailey, died after testing positive for COVID-19
Wanda Bailey, 63, of south suburban Crete died this week. She and her younger sister, Patricia Frieson, who died last week, had COVID-19. Courtesy of the family of Wanda Bailey
Wanda Bailey, died after testing positive for COVID-19
Wanda Bailey, 63, of south suburban Crete died this week. She and her younger sister, Patricia Frieson, who died last week, had COVID-19. Courtesy of the family of Wanda Bailey

The 2nd Member Of A Chicago-Area Family Has Died After Contracting COVID-19

A sister of the first known person in Illinois to die after testing positive for COVID-19 has died from the disease, too.

Wanda Bailey, 63 and of south suburban Crete, died on Wednesday at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields. She came from a tight-knit family of nine brothers and sisters in the Chicago area. Her sister, Patricia Frieson, died March 16 after testing positive for COVID-19. Bailey got tested last week, her brother Richard Frieson said. Bailey had been in the hospital since her sister died.

“I don’t know if she was worried that she got the virus from her sister,” Richard Frieson said. “A number of people in the family had coughs and fevers, so we don’t know exactly where this virus originated from. Wanda probably got it at the same time as Patricia.”

Richard Frieson said Bailey got married about 10 years ago. She liked shopping and entertaining her friends.

“Wanda was one of the sweetest people. She turned into a sweet, wonderful person. She was annoying when we were growing up,” Richard Frieson joked.

More recently, Bailey, a hospital coder, looked forward to retirement in a couple of years and figuring out what was her next chapter.

Bailey had one son, Tarah. She had him as a teenager, and his aunt Patricia died on his birthday.

“Losing Pat, to him, is like losing a mother, and now he has lost his mother, too,” Richard Frieson said.

What’s been hardest for the family is not seeing either sister in their last days because of the illness, Richard Frieson said. “One of the things of having a huge family is we can all be together. And when one dies alone, it’s really tough.”

“One of the things about Patricia and Wanda is neither was scared of death,” he added. “That gives us a little bit of comfort.”

Patricia Frieson was cremated, and there are no plans for Bailey yet. Richard Frieson said the plan is to memorialize them both in the future.

Natalie Moore is a reporter on WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. You can follow her on Twitter at @natalieymoore.