25 Jun 2024

Chattanooga Daily News


Chattanooga woman dies of COVID-19 after years of volunteer work with children

Chattanooga woman dies of COVID-19 after years of volunteer work with children
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – COVID-19 has devastated many families this year, but many are left with good memories and impactful stories to tell about their loved ones.
Jeanne McDaniel’s family said while it is a tough loss, they will be able to still smile knowing she dedicated her life to making others smile.
77-year-old McDaniel from Chattanooga spent several weeks visiting her sister in Florida where she became ill.

After returning home, McDaniel entered the hospital where she tested positive for coronavirus the Sunday before thanksgiving.

With underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart, and kidney disease, she was immediately transferred to the ICU where she died Wednesday.

“As far as seeing COVID-19 take over a loved one. It’s not. It’s not a game,” said Samantha Wright, McDaniel’s granddaughter.

McDaniel has four daughters, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

With a volunteer spirit, that family became even larger.

“Dad has died back in 2003 and then my mom had a heart attack in 2005 and she was just looking for something to do with her time,” said Barbara Wright, McDaniel’s daughter.

McDaniel then earned her GED, became a senior aide, and started to volunteer.

She spent more than a decade as a foster granny at the Chambliss Center for Children where she touched the lives of hundreds.

“Each kid had a certain name and they would greet mom with hugs and kisses every morning,” said Cookie Lendreth, McDaniel’s daughter.

in 2011, McDaniel was the recipient of the National Service Award through the United Way of Greater Chattanooga.

“She said one time the reason that she got up every morning was to see her children and work with them and hopefully teach them good principles of life. To be a good influence on them,” said Phil Acord, the chief executive officer of the Chambliss Center for Children.

McDaniel did not get an opportunity to go back to the Center as they were closed during the pandemic.

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