‘Our thoughts go out to the others on this ill-fated cruise’

 

The families of two Ruby Princess passengers who died after contracting coronavirus urged people to heed restrictions as they paid tribute to the loving grandparents.

Grandmother of four Linda Lavender, 62, last week became the state's first COVID-19 death linked to the ill-fated cruise ship after losing her five-day fight for life in the Royal Adelaide Hospital's intensive care unit.

The southern suburbs merchandiser, also a mother of three, had been on the "trip of a lifetime" with her retired hardware manager husband of 38 years, Stephen, 67, of Morphett Vale.

Also on the stricken voyage around New Zealand last month was northeastern suburbs grandfather of four Roger Leaney, 74, of Valley View, with his wife of 52 years Veronica, who also has the virus.

Roger Leaney with wife Veronica. Picture: Supplied by family
Roger Leaney with wife Veronica. Picture: Supplied by family

The retired Australian National Rail diesel fitter, a highly respected community stalwart, lost his 10-day ICU fight for life on Saturday.

Their families paid separate, emotional tributes to the pair as they all urged South Australians to heed government advice and restrictions while also publicly thanking the RAH's ICU medical team of "angels".

"Veronica would like to thank the angels in the (RAH) ICU, for their compassionate and dedicated care of Roger during the 10 days he was (there)."

They were among 89 virus hit people linked to the ship - 80 of whom are passengers and nine "secondary" transmissions, which is SA Health's biggest cluster of cases.

Mrs Lavender's "devastated" daughter, Jaime Day, 31, of Morphett Vale, told The Advertiser how her mother had loved the cruise, which was booked well before the pandemic took hold.

 

South Australian woman Linda Lavender, who died from COVID-19, aboard the Ruby Princess where she contracted the virus. Picture: Supplied by family
South Australian woman Linda Lavender, who died from COVID-19, aboard the Ruby Princess where she contracted the virus. Picture: Supplied by family

She developed a cough the day after returning home and was tested following an urgent SA Health call.

"She was absolute sunshine, everybody called her the 'mother hen'," she said. "She wasn't happy unless everybody was around her. She adored her four granddaughters, who she spoiled rotten and also loved a cup of tea with her friends.

 

Linda Lavender with husband Stephen aboard the Ruby Princess. Picture: Supplied by family
Linda Lavender with husband Stephen aboard the Ruby Princess. Picture: Supplied by family

 

"She was just such a loving person, so warm and funny and was always laughing. You can't find a picture of her when she wasn't smiling. She loved that cruise and couldn't wait to go on the next one."

Mr Leaney, a father of two who became the state's fourth COVID-19 victim, loved his family, travelling and sport.

His widow and children are "deeply saddened" by his "peaceful" death.

"He was a dedicated family man who enjoyed a close bond with his children and grandchildren, sharing many family holidays together," they said in a statement on Monday.

"Roger was fit and active, involved in a wide range of social activities including lawn bowls, golf, gym, National Seniors Australia and happily dedicating over 45 years to coaching and umpiring netball. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers and crew members who were also aboard this ill-fated cruise."

Originally published as 'Our thoughts go out to the others aboard this ill-fated cruise'

Roger Leaney before his trip on the Ruby Princess. Picture: Supplied by family
Roger Leaney before his trip on the Ruby Princess. Picture: Supplied by family

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