The Urquiza household rages with Arizona management for their handling of the pandemic as they bury Mark Anthony Urquiza, who passed away of COVID-19

Arizona Republic

PHOENIX — Mourners stood scattered among serious stones, faces masked and down-turned, providing a wide radius around the white casket where Deacon Jose Garza stood and eulogized Mark Anthony Urquiza

Urquiza died on June 30 at the age of 65 from complications due to COVID-19, leaving behind his child, Kristin, his life partner, Brenda, and the entire community of Tolleson where he was born and raised.

His obituary, which was released in the Arizona Republic on Wednesday, remembers him for his “transmittable energy, strong will, and yes, stubbornness.”

It also laid blame for his death.

” Mark, thus numerous others, need to not have passed away from COVID-19 His death is due to the carelessness of the political leaders who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of management, refusal to acknowledge the intensity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and definitive direction on how to decrease risk,” it checks out.

His child and daughter-in-law are “directing our unhappiness and rage into constructing an awareness project so fewer families are required to sustain this,” it reads.

COVID-19 robbed Urquiza of his life — and the funeral Kristin Urquiza thought her dad was worthy of.

” The amount of people that wanted to be here but could not is frustrating,” she said. “It definitely breaks my heart to know that this male who was so cherished by so many people for 65 years isn’t able to get an appropriate send-off.”

Many of the a number of dozen in participation who knew Urquiza given that youth stayed Holy Cross Cemetery in Avondale in the hot summertime breeze after Garza concluded, looking for shade and switching stories and pictures about the left.

The pallbearers waited up until everyone dispersed, however, to reduce the coffin into the ground next to his parents’ tombs, since new precautionary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 have not just limited participation to 50 but likewise limited funeral-goers from experiencing the burial.

This sorrow at her father’s death and insufficient farewell, along with her anger at what she thinks were policy failures that straight triggered his unnecessary death, forced Kristin Urquiza to invite Gov. Doug Ducey to the funeral service. He had actually not reacted to the invite by Wednesday morning.

She had actually wished to reveal Ducey that the more than 2,000 Arizonans who have actually lost their lives to the new coronavirus are not simply numbers.

” They are people like my dad who have whole households and communities behind them that are grieving,” she stated.

” I feel as if he was robbed,” she said, which he was not the only one.


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‘ The west Valley mayor’ and the life of the party

Handfuls of people socialized — 6 feet or more apart — around Urquiza’s grave site, sharing memories of the male they fondly described as “Black Jack” for his lifelong love of the eponymous card video game.

Many of them had actually known him for years, having actually grown up in Tolleson together. Even after marrying his high school sweetheart and moving to neighboring Maryvale to raise his daughter and work as a quality assurance inspector in the aerospace industry, Urquiza had actually stayed close with the neighborhood of his youth.

” He was simply another brother, another bro from another mother,” said Larry Tritz, who had fulfilled Urquiza when he was a track star at Tolleson Union High School. They found out to raise honeybees together, Tritz remembered.

Lots of remembered Urquiza for his boundless energy for enjoyable and for life, constantly inviting his good friends and siblings to the bar, a show, a sports video game, or a NASCAR race.

He was the life of the celebration, throwing huge events every year for his birthday, stated Garry Fendrick, who understood Urquiza for 35 years. When he sang karaoke, Fendrick smiled and recounted, ” he wasn’t very good, however he always sold it.”

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His child kept in mind how her dad remained close with his pals from Tolleson throughout her childhood and into his 60 s.

” He was so committed to the community, to his neighborhood,” she stated. ” One of the things this disaster exposed is the extremely huge heart and kindness my daddy had for anybody in his life.”

Then, with a laugh, she added, “My dad was sort of like the west Valley mayor in a manner.”

” I marvel about this show up,” said John Limon, peering around the cemetery at the around 50 people who had actually made it to his childhood pal’s funeral. ” However with this thing going on, I can see why not everybody showed up.”

Rick Urquiza agreed that, if not for the pandemic, his older bro would have filled the chapel and cemetery to the brim.

” He headed out of this world too quick,” he said softly and tearfully. ” I’m still in shock.”

‘ Gov. Ducey has blood on his hands’

Kristin Urquiza learnt her father was dying on a drive to Phoenix from her house in San Francisco.

” I had to take the call at a gasoline station on the side of the highway that his heart was failing,” she said. That was how she spoke to her dad for the last time: with him sedated and alone except for the nurse who held up the phone so that his family, over FaceTime, could be with him virtually as he took his last breaths.

Urquiza ended up being ill on June 11 and evaluated positive for COVID-19 the next day. 5 days later, he informed his life partner, Brenda, that he required to go to the medical facility. He was kept on a high oxygen treatment for 10 days, his condition gradually declining, prior to he was relocated to the ICU and place on a ventilator. He was gone 4 days later, on June30 He had no hidden health conditions, according to his daughter.

” I’m still in shock. I can’t think it,” stated Brenda Urquiza, who had actually been with Mark for 48 years. They dated in high school for three years, then were wed for over 20, and eventually divorced however were still living together in Maryvale for the last 10.

” He had more life to live. It’s simply too early for him, too, too early,” she said. ” It makes me sad that he doesn’t get to be here and see Kristin, all that she’s gon na do, and his nephews and nieces and his bros and sis.”

Brenda had actually likewise checked positive for COVID-19 but has thankfully skilled little to no signs.

While she doesn’t know how exactly he contracted the infection, Kristin Urquiza said that she does understand that her father relied on Ducey’s guidance and sheltered in location throughout his very first stay-at-home order, which began in March.

When Ducey allowed organisations to open back up on May 15, she stated, “my papa was completely under the impression that it was safe to resume activities as normal.”

Her mom included, “His buddies called, ‘come on, we’re going to have a couple of drinks’ or ‘ we’re going to do karaoke.’ You know, he simply could not stay away.”

Ducey closed bars once again on June 29, a day before Mark Urquiza died.

” Papa’s death was completely unnecessary and wouldn’t have actually happened had we acted rapidly and swiftly in a way that focused on public health,” his daughter said.

She likewise said she is “angered” by the disproportionate results the pandemic is having on neighborhoods of color around the nation.

Tolleson is majority Hispanic and working class, as is Maryvale. Urquiza’s dad was an immigrant from Durango, Mexico, and his mom was a first-generation Mexican American.

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information reveals that hospitalization rates for Black and brown individuals are as much as 5 times greater than for white people. They are also most likely to die from COVID-19 than white individuals.

Meanwhile, Maryvale has seen some of the worst infection rates but least opportunities for COVID-19 testing in the city.

She stated this is why she extended an invite to the funeral service to Gov. Ducey, whose office had gotten the letter, according to the Fedex tracking website, however did not react. She desired him to witness firsthand what she thought was the result of his lack of management.

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” I think that our elected officials have the power and the duty to keep their constituents safe,” she said. “I think that Ducey’s got blood on his hands.”

Ducey on Thursday released an executive order further restricting restaurant capacity for dine-in service to listed below 50%.

” This is a procedure of risk decrease,” Ducey stated. “It’s about making the best decision possible to lower your threat of contracting this infection, to decrease your risk of spreading out the virus and particularly spreading out the infection to somebody that’s most vulnerable.”

Marked by COVID vigil at Capitol

Following her father’s funeral service, Kristin Urquiza traveled to downtown Phoenix, accompanied by her mother and her partner, Christine Keeves, to establish a candlelit vigil outside the Arizona Capitol.

She published the occasion for the “Vigil & Ofrenda for those lost to COVID” on her Facebook page, Significant by COVID, which she had actually produced on Sunday ” in honor of her dad … to drive a culture modification around COVID avoidance to save lives.”

” Guv Ducey has blood on his hands,” Kristin Urquiza repeated to journalism. “That blood is the blood of my dad and almost 2,000 other Arizonans that have died so far.”

She also said that her dad deserved more than to pass away alone apart from his family, and to not be able to have the whole cemetery filled with his pals.

” If I can run a safe funeral, this governor can run a safe state!” she stated.

In attendance was state Rep. Raquel Terán, whose district consists of part of Maryvale and who said that she exists to be in solidarity with the Urquiza family.

” Righteous anger,” she said concerning Kristin Urquiza’s declaration to Ducey. “There requires to be obligation. … That’s why I’m here, due to the fact that we need responsibility on all levels.”

Kristin Urquiza is using her grief and fury to draw attention to the state and, she hopes, impact modification. She has actually told her dad’s story to NBC News and raised more than $30,000 with a GoFundMe to cover his funeral expenses and begin a project to spread out information about COVID-19

She stated that, through her anger and pain, she is hoping that something favorable can come out of this.

” I will not permit him to be just another number, another death,” she said. “I am getting in touch with individuals throughout the state along with individuals throughout the nation to come forward with your story to put faces and names to the lives that we have actually lost so that not only Gov. Ducey but the Trump administration takes this crisis as a crisis so that there are no more deaths.”

Follow Emily Wilder on Twitter @vv1lder


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