A business owner in Michigan who defied state orders by keeping his diner open last year during the pandemic has died of complications from COVID-19.
John Parney Sr., 62, died on December 14 at the Bronson Battle Creek Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, according to his obituary. He owned the Quincy Diner in the village of Quincy, Michigan, and he caught the attention of regional news by keeping the restaurant open in December 2020 after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services ordered a partial shutdown.
At the time, Parney explained the reason for the violation was to help pay for his wife’s medical bills as she battled stage-four colon cancer.
Parney had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family. However, he told relatives he intended to the shot following his hospitalization due to the severity of the illness.
« My wife’s fighting stage-four colon cancer, » Parney told MLive.com last year. « We depend on this restaurant to help subsidize billing and all of that. My employees need that. Of course, if I’d have stayed closed much longer, I’d have lost the business. »
Parney told the news outlet that the Quincy Diner hadn’t recovered from a shutdown earlier that year during the beginning of the pandemic, saying it lost $250,000 in business.
The restaurant’s Facebook page called the business « John’s vision » and stated it would remain open despite his passing.
The family’s GoFundMe page aims to raise money to help with expenses related to Parney’s hospitalization, as well as for Paula Parney’s continued treatment. The page was close to its $25,000 goal as of press time.
The family’s post on the fundraising page said COVID-19 complications led to Parney being hospitalized in September. He was discharged after three days only to be readmitted two days later when he became « incoherent and confused. » The family wrote that upon Parney’s admittance into the emergency department, his « stats were dangerously low and he was immediately placed in isolation and given oxygen. »
In addition to working at his diner, Parney maintained a full-time job at FireKeepers Casino and Hotel in Battle Creek. Earlier in his life, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
« For those who will ask, no, John was not vaccinated from COVID-19, » Parney’s family wrote on GoFundMe. « However, during his battle, when he was able to talk, John shared with his family that he will be getting vaccinated because the battle, at that point, was worse than any training he endured in the military. »
Newsweek contacted Parney’s family for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
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