COVID-19 claims life of Calgary health-care worker who friends say ‘died a hero’

Joe Marie Corral, who friends affectionately called “Jing”, lost his battle with COVID-19 last week.

Ephraim Tiangha, a colleague and friend of the 61-year-old long-term care worker, said Corral was incredibly devoted to the residents he cared for.

Read more: Alberta health-care worker dies of COVID-19

“He never stopped. He said, ‘if I would stop, who will take care of the residents?’ He pushed himself to his limits,” Tiangha said. “We have an oath that we have to take care of a person in need, so for Joe, that’s why he’s a hero.”

“He has a big heart, it’s hard to accept a person that you love so much is gone.”

Tiangha and Joe Corral.
Tiangha and Joe Corral. Courtesy: Ephraim Tiangha

“It’s hard for me too because I don’t have my friend to talk to every day and at work,” Tiangha said.

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Corral rented the basement at Tiangha’s family home in Calgary.

“It’s very lonely because in our table he has his own chair, just for him,” Tiangha said.

Corral with Tiangha’s family.
Corral with Tiangha’s family. Courtesy: Ephraim Tiangha

The two friends worked together at Bethany Riverview care home in the dementia ward.  Tiangha said Corral tested positive on Dec. 20 and complained about difficulty breathing almost a week later.

“I asked him if he was okay and he said he could manage it, but I didn’t sleep. I have a feeling that something happened.”

Joe Corral.
Joe Corral. Courtesy: Ephraim Tiangha

In the afternoon of Dec. 28, Tiangha discovered Corral lying in his bed, unconscious.

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“It was too late. Every time I go to bed and close my eyes I see him. It’s hard.”

Corral leaves behind a son and daughter who hope to plan a virtual celebration of life in the coming days. A Gofundme has been set up to support his family.

Corral with friends.
Corral with friends. Courtesy: Ephraim Tiangha

Friends say Corral was a healthy man who didn’t have any serious health issues.

“Please don’t take this virus for granted. It will hit you, it’s no joke.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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