‘Wonderful father’ dies from coronavirus aged 73
PUBLISHED: 16:03 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:33 09 April 2020
COURTESY OF FAMILY
A family devastated at the sudden loss of a “perfect father” to coronavirus say his death should serve as a warning to others about the serious dangers of the disease.
Mike Fish had been a fit and healthy 73-year old, with no known underlying health conditions, when he first showed signs of a high temperature and fatigue on March 25.
Having barely mixed with others and carefully observed social distancing guidelines, his family are at a loss to explain how he contracted the virus.
Yet within days, wife Elaine Fish said the former Felixstowe business owner “seemed to be going downhill and started coughing more and more”.
With the Ipswich resident finding it difficult to catch his breath, Mrs Fish dialled 999 - and paramedics speedily arrived to take him to intensive care at Ipswich Hospital.
Even though paramedics described him as “very, very poorly” Mrs Fish said: “I thought: ‘They’ll get him to hospital and he’ll be okay.’
“When he left the house I never thought he was actually going to die.”
Mr Fish, who had previously co-owned and run East Anglian Builders Supply Co in Felixstowe with his brother David for 25 years, died on Monday, March 30 - with his family saying he was “taken far too soon by the Covid-19 virus.”
His death stunned his friends and family, with Mrs Fish saying: “Everyone was shocked how quickly it happened.
“Everyone is absolutely devastated.”
Mr Fish was born in Nottingham but the family moved to Felixstowe when he was a child.
After growing up in the Suffolk coastal town, he worked as a sales representative for Nestle covering the East of England. Later in the 1960s, he moved to London to work as a marketing executive with Lyons Coffee.
He met his future wife Elaine at Queens Ice Rink in London in January 1971. The pair married in April 1974 and the newlyweds lived in High Wycombe and commuted to London.
By that time, Mr Fish was working at Reader’s Digest with responsibility for marketing the Condensed Book series.
In 1976, the couple moved back to Suffolk and Mr Fish and his brother David went on to take control of the family builders merchants business in Felixstowe.
Mr and Mrs Fish’s two daughters - Krystina, 40, and Danielle, 37 - were born and raised in Ipswich.
Despite his busy working life, Mrs Fish said: “He was the perfect father.
“He was always there for his girls. You just knew that when there was some problem, he would be able to sort it out. He was totally Mr Reliable.”
Following the sale of the builders merchants to Travis Perkins, Mr Fish was involved with several building development projects until he decided to take a step back and enjoy his hobbies - such as countryside and wildlife photography, as well as spending time with his family.
“He always cared for his family,” said Mrs Fish
“He always put us first and our elderly relatives - even though running a business is an absolutely full-time occupation, he was always devoted to helping his family.”
‘You can’t take anything for granted’
Mr Fish’s death has been made all the harder for the family because the lockdown and self-isolation means they have been unable to have any physical contact with friends or family.
Fortunately, Mrs Fish’s younger daughter Danielle has been staying with her and they have received plenty of love and support by phone.
“But no-one can actually come to comfort us or help us to sort things out,” Mrs Fish said.
“You feel totally alone.”
However Mrs Fish, 67, said her husband’s death showed that: “You can’t take anything for granted.
“You just don’t know who this virus is going to take.
“The mystery is how he got it in the first place. It makes you think it must be so easy to pick up, with such slight contact. I don’t understand how it could have happened.
“As far as we’re concerned he was a perfectly fit and healthy man for his age. He was going out when necessary but he was being careful.
“Ever since the virus started, he was being careful about trying to keep socially distanced.
“He wasn’t out mixing - he wasn’t someone who went to the pub with his mates. He preferred to be at home.
“It could’ve just come from anywhere - that’s why it’s so important for people to be socially distancing.”
‘People have the opportunity to save their families’
Krystina said it was likely her father caught the virus before the UK-wide shutdown.
She said that now, during the lockdown, “people have the opportunity to save their families”.
She added: “We all have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude.
“None of us have shown any symptoms, so please don’t think you’re safe to others because you still feel well.
“Most importantly, if you know someone with symptoms, yes stay at home, but please tell them how much they mean to you and don’t distance your communication with them.
Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, a small family funeral is due to be held in the coming weeks.
However, it is hoped a memorial service to remember Mr Fish will be held at some point in the future.
Elaine, Krystina and Danielle would like to thank Ipswich Hospital staff and paramedics for all they did to try to save him.
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