PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. - For over 50 years, an Ozaukee County doctor worked to save lives. His life was taken by the coronavirus, and the loss led to another blow for his already grieving family.
"He served the people," said Carlo Perez. "That was in his nature."
Dr. Celestino Perez lived a life of service. The Air Force veteran was a longtime physician in Port Washington, determined to practice through the pandemic.
"As my father did what he loved to do, we could not stop him," said Carlo Perez. "He knew the risks. It was important for him to be there for his patients, regardless of whatever happened."
Carlo Perez said his father tested positive for COVID-19 after a routine test in mid-November.
"He started feeling a little more ill, very weak," said Perez. "His oxygen levels were declining."
The 81-year-old took a turn for the worse and died at a hospital.
"It's very difficult to say where he could have gotten sick," said Perez.
His wife of over 50 years defeated the coronavirus, but the family says she died Saturday, Dec. 12, unable to beat a broken heart.
"This was one of the greatest love stories I could have ever witnessed," said Perez.
As vaccine distribution begins, Perez said his father would have received it to continue his passion.
"He probably would have stepped up to the plate and done it because then he could have continued serving his community, serving his patients and being happy doing his thing," said Perez.
The family plans to hold a service in the coming weeks.