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World War II veteran and his daughter both recover from COVID-19 at Westminster Healthcare Center

World War II veteran Charles Barbier, 101, and his daughter, Kathryn Dean, 73, are both residents at Westminster Healthcare Center who were diagnosed with COVID-19. They celebrated Memorial Day Weekend together in their Westminster nursing home after defeating COVID-19. The pair had been in isolation for weeks at the Westminster Healthcare Center's COVID-19 ward.
World War II veteran Charles Barbier, 101, and his daughter, Kathryn Dean, 73, are both residents at Westminster Healthcare Center who were diagnosed with COVID-19. They celebrated Memorial Day Weekend together in their Westminster nursing home after defeating COVID-19. The pair had been in isolation for weeks at the Westminster Healthcare Center's COVID-19 ward. (Courtesy Photo)

Charles Barbier survived the Great Depression, World War II, and now, COVID-19.

The 101-year-old and his daughter, Kathryn Dean, 73, are both residents at Westminster Healthcare Center, Dean said. Each was diagnosed with COVID-19 and cared for at the center.

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After being deemed recovered, they reunited for a Memorial Day celebration Friday, according to a spokesperson for the center.

Charles Barbier served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Charles Barbier served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. (Courtesy photo)

“I feel very blessed that he survived, that I survived," Dean said. "It’s a miserable, miserable disease.”

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The healthcare center has had 83 positive cases, 10 of which were staff, according to spokesperson Beth DeFalco. As of Tuesday, all staff had recovered and only five residents still had COVID-19, she said. The center announced April 14 that four of the 116 residents had tested positive. Barbier tested positive April 10 and Dean on April 17, DeFalco said.

With COVID-19 behind them, Dean said she was thrilled to see her father again. They got together to take photos at the healthcare center.

“It was wonderful to see him,” she said. “He looked so good.”

Dean said her father served in the Army Air Corps in Ridgewell, England during the war. He was a mechanic and worked on B-17 airplanes.

Her father did not speak much of his service, but told her about a time when a B-17 called “Big Mike” crashed as it was coming in for a landing. Barbier and some of his friends dragged it out of the mud and rebuilt it, she said.

They renamed it “Frenchy’s Folly," after Barbier. Dean said her father got the nickname Frenchy for being from New Orleans, Louisiana, where she also lived.

Charles Barbier was among those who dragged a crashed B-17 out of mud and rebuilt it. It became known as "Frenchy's Folly." Barbier was known as Frenchy during World War II because he is from New Orleans.
Charles Barbier was among those who dragged a crashed B-17 out of mud and rebuilt it. It became known as "Frenchy's Folly." Barbier was known as Frenchy during World War II because he is from New Orleans. (Courtesy photo)

Dean’s sister Debra moved to Sparks, Maryland, which is how Dean and her father came to be residents of Westminster Healthcare Center.

Dean has a rare kidney disease that made it difficult for her to care for herself. She said the staff at the center were very caring and concerned for her and her father while they were fighting COVID-19.

During that time, she had a fever, headache, muscle aches, and pain in her eyes. Plus, she had to undergo dialysis three times per week. Because she is a dialysis patient, she was at high risk for complications from the coronavirus, including death, DeFalco said.

Dean said her father had respiratory issues and a temperature that reached above his age of 101, but that his case wasn’t as bad as hers.

She said she does not wish the disease on anyone, and encourages people to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“If they don’t get it, they [can’t] spread it to somebody else,” Dean said. “It’s very serious. It’s nothing to play around with. It’s no joke.”

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Dean looks forward to seeing her sister and nieces again when visitors are allowed. She said it’s lonely at times.

“Just take care of yourself, 'cause by taking care of yourself you’re taking care of other people, too," Dean said.

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