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'He liked dressing up as Santa Claus': Greensboro woman remembers brother who died of COVID-19

Buddy Durham, 66, worked for the City of Greensboro Park and Recreation Department for over 38 years.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Greensboro woman said she is heartbroken after she lost her brother to COVID-19.

"Going to a window to see your loved one is the hardest thing that I've had to go through to see this," said Lisa Lewis. Lewis is a health care worker employed at an assisted living care facility. 

Lewis said Covid-19 took away her big-hearted and Harley-Davidson loving brother Buddy Durham, 66, way too soon.

"I was not able to go to see him because he was on life-support, he had to wear a ventilator and he was at the hospital for 45 days," Lewis said. 

Durham who worked for the City of Greensboro Park and Recreation Department for over 38 years, could not attend his sister's wedding because of his illness. Then on January 4, Durham died in the hospital leaving behind memories for his heartbroken loved ones.

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According to Lewis, her brother loved to work as Santa during the holidays and ride his motorcycle. She said those are among the fond memories of him she'll remember and cherish the most.

"He always liked dressing up to be Santa Claus and always puts that smiley face on the kid's faces. When kids didn't have anything, he would go the extra mile to find that toy for the child," She said.

Before he died, Durham gave his sister an old photo of herself sitting with Santa Claus at a Mall. When he handed her that photo he let her in on a secret that he had kept to himself for years.

"My brother never told me that he was the one who dressed as Santa Claus and I sat on his lap and he gave me that picture probably two months ago," Lewis said unable to hold back her tears. That visit down memory lane was one of the last times she saw her motorcycle-loving brother in person 

"He would donate his time to ride his motorcycle before fundraisers for kids with cancer. He would go and reach out to find that toy that that child requested to have. These would always be the memories and I hope in my time through my life that I will follow in his shoes and help," She said.

Lewis urged that people in the community should do all they can to avoid getting sick with COVID-19.

"Please I'm asking this world to please wear this mask and protect these other people in the world too," Lewis said.

"Any family member that is going through this or has lost a loved one that has died of this COVID-19, my prayers are with you every step I take in this world today so God bless each and every one of you that has lost someone," Lewis said.

Durham was cremated at his request and his January 10 funeral arrangements were handled by Pierce-Jefferson Funeral and Cremation Services. A Celebration of Durham's life is scheduled to take place on his birthday, May 23 at his home.

The family asked that memorial contributions be made to ;

ASPCA and/or His Laboring Few Biker Ministry, 

812 Martin Luther King Jr Dr,

Thomasville, NC 27360.