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The story of Covid-19 is often told in numbers. On Sunday, it was told with names.

The story of Covid-19's effects on Western New York has largely been one of mind-numbing data, provided day after day on a national, state, county and even municipal level.

But Sunday's death notices in The Buffalo News told a very different one: that of at least seven individuals who died of the disease, and Covid-19 was listed as the cause.

They were among dozens of other deaths, spread over nearly seven pages.

The victims of the virus, according to the death notices, included:

  • Charles J. Fletch, a Wheatfield husband to Nancy, and father of five – Ashley, Angela, Lindsey, Kendra and Jodi.
  • Denise Grenier, a 66-year-old Lovejoy woman, who was "not surrounded by family and friends" when she died on April 8, because of the social-distancing restrictions. She is survived by a son, Robin; sisters Deborah and Claudia; and brothers Lee and Kevin.
  • George F. Manthey, a 92-year-old Navy veteran and former steelworker.
  • A 72-year-old Buffalo native, John P. Verel, who had relocated to the New York City area in 1972 for a career in finance and then technology. He died in Connecticut.
  • Lois A. Walck, an 82-year-old farmer from Niagara Falls who was married to her husband for 63 years.
  • William L. Steck Jr., a retired Erie County corrections officer from East Aurora, whose family shared his story with The News last week.
  • 93-year-old Renee C. Williams, who "valiantly fought Covid-19" at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, and "will be missed beyond any expression of words" by daughters Renee and Joan and by her son, Craig, according to her death notice.

That represents a fraction of the 9,400 people who have died statewide and more than 50 in Erie County since the outbreak began. Information was not available for all seven victims.


George Manthey died April 5, at age 92.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and earned a degree in engineering from Tufts University before embarking on a long career. He started at Worthington Pump, before moving on to Ryerson Steel and then U.S. Steel, from which he retired in 1991.

He was an active member of St. John Lutheran Church on Main Street in Williamsville, and also volunteered for organizations throughout Erie County, including Junior Achievement of Western New York, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and the Food Shuttle of WNY. He helped start Little League Football in Clarence, and helped out with tax returns at the Clarence Senior Center.

He received the Erie County Senior Citizen Volunteer of the Year award in 2001.

Manthey was married to his wife, Ellen Jane, for 67 years, and had two children – Linda and John – plus four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date, but donations may be made in his memory to St. John Lutheran Church.

His family could not be reached for additional comment.


Lois Walck died April 8, at age 82.

Born in Niagara Falls in 1937, she married her husband, Donald D. Walck, 63 years ago, and they ran their Lockport farm together. Lois operated farm equipment and did all the bookkeeping, among other roles, according to the death notice.

She was an "avid bowler" and competed both locally and nationally, winning "numerous trophies," the notice continued. She enjoyed taking photos and sharing them with others. She and her husband also enjoyed snowmobiling, boating and traveling to Florida and Australia.

The lifelong Lutheran was "an exceptionally generous, kind person who loved spending time with her family," the notice continued.

"Lois made friends wherever she went, and will be remembered as gracious, always having a smile on her face and bringing happiness to all who knew her," the notice said.

She is survived by her husband; her sister, Judith; her three daughters, Deborah, Donna and Doreen, as well as six grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Funeral services will be held later. Contributions may be made to the St. Peter's Lutheran Church or school in Sanborn.

Lives lost to Covid-19

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