‘We weren’t ready,’ Pensacola family loses patriarch to COVID-19

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – A large family is grieving after their patriarch died from complications of COVID-19.

“My dad was a fighter,” Mike Wogsland said. “The biggest thing I can say about my dad is that he loved people and he loved God.”

Leonard Wogsland had no underlying health conditions and died at the age of 68, according to his son. He and his wife just got back from visiting family in Minnesota and they started to feel sick.

“It happened real fast,” Mike said. “It definitely caught us all by surprise. We weren’t ready for it.”

Mike and other family members had COVID-19 as well but they improved. Leonard had trouble breathing and wasn’t getting any better.

“His oxygen levels were really bad and they couldn’t get them to go up,” he said. “They ended up putting him on a BiPAP machine, then from there he got on a respirator then passed away.”

Leonard leaves behind 18 grandchildren some of whom were living with him in a house that was damaged during Hurricane Sally.

“We lost our house, lost our health, and lost a loved one,” Mike said.

Leonard died as they were trying to get the house back to normal.

“He was kind of the rock of this family and what he would do is just work so hard every day trying to rebuild everything,” Mike said.

The community has raised more than $8,000, through GoFundMe, to help with the house and his funeral on August 6th.

Mike said fighting COVID-19 has been tougher than any of them expected.

“COVID’s an interesting disease,” he said. “It doesn’t just affect your health. It affects you mentally. Literally I’ve never had any sickness that makes you feel like you want to give up so much.”

Mike said because of allergies, his parents were not able to get the vaccine but he said his mom is getting some medication so that she can get it and the rest of the family plans to get vaccinated as well.

Leonard’s family remembers him as a loving man who worked hard to help other people.

“He was a musician who used to write a lot of worship music,” Mike said. “He would play at all of the kids’ weddings. He was just a tremendous man. I looked up to him a lot.”

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