'Family was everything:' Illinois couple died hours apart after COVID-19 diagnoses

SKOKIE, Ill. -- A married couple who emigrated from Ukraine more than two decades ago died of the coronavirus only hours apart on Saturday, March 28.

Feliks Ogorodnik, 88, and his wife, Luiza, 84, died at Glenbrook Hospital in suburban Glenview, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

They both died of pneumonia with COVID-19 and other preexisting conditions as contributing factors, the medical examiner’s office said.

Their deaths marked the first married couple that officials in Illinois identified as succumbing to the coronavirus.

The Skokie couple left behind two daughters and four grandchildren, according to an online obituary by Chicago Jewish Funerals. The couple moved from Ukraine to the United States more than 20 years ago.

They “were very grateful to be here and become U.S. citizens,” the obituary stated. “They always strived to improve their English and learn more about the United States.”

Luiza Ogorodnik was a physician in Ukraine and was interested in books and theater, the obituary stated. She “was a very energetic woman, full of optimism and life. She loved people and always sought to help those around her.”

Feliks Ogorodnik was a manager of construction company in Ukraine. He was dedicated to his family and loved gardening.

“He always shared his harvest with family and neighbors,” the obituary stated. “His family was everything to him.”

Luiza died March 28 at 12:12 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office. Less than five hours later, Feliks died at the same hospital at 4:50 p.m.

Attempts to reach family members were unsuccessful.

A private funeral service was scheduled for Tuesday, with a memorial service to be arranged later. Shiva was set to be held online Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first Chicago-area relatives to both die of COVID-19 in Illinois were two sisters. Wanda Bailey, 63, died of a COVID-19 infection only a week after her sister Patricia Frieson, 61, died of the same disease.

As of Tuesday, March 31, there were 73 COVID-19 deaths in Illinois.