Florida Teacher & Daughter, Both Unvaccinated, Die From COVID Days Apart

A veteran Florida teacher and her daughter, who worked as a school cafeteria manager, have passed away due to COVID-19, Local 10 reports.

Lillian Smith, 67, and Lakisha Williams, 43, both worked at Miami Dade Public Schools. Smith taught first grade at Dr. William A. Chapman Elementary School in Homestead, Florida for 30 years. Williams was promoted to her manager position a few weeks ago.

The mother and daughter were hospitalized in early August due to complications related to COVID-19 and had to be put on ventilators. Smith succumbed to the novel virus on August 21, according to a relative's social media post. Williams followed her just four days later.

"I was so proud when she got her degree to be this manager, and my wife only did this not even a month," Williams' husband, Jermaine Williams, said tearfully. He also described Smith, his mother-in-law, as a "wonderful lady" who loved her students as "her babies."

Reporters learned Williams and Smith were unvaccinated when they were infected. Suzy Burstein, Smith's longtime co-worker, told the Miami Herald that she begged the 67-year-old to get vaccinated.

"The scariest thing to me was that this didn’t have to happen," Burstein said. "I’ve also said to myself ‘I failed her. I failed her.’ And that’s something that I’ll always have to live with because I couldn’t convince her."

As she laid dying, Williams told her husband that one of her last wishes was to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Friends and family members left heartbreaking messages on Facebook, mourning the two women. Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says Williams and Smith's deaths are a reminder as to how "destructive" COVID-19 is.

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