HAMPTON, Va. — The family of a prominent peninsula doctor is remembering his life and encouraging others to get vaccinated.
Dr. Leroy Emmanuel Stiff died from COVID-19 complications, last week.
His daughter, Dr. Leslie Stiff Jones said he was well-loved and well-known by many.
“He’s just always been there as a constant in my life," Dr. Jones said. "Any graduation, awards ceremony. Way into my adult life, he was there."
He leaves behind three children and his wife, Dr. Minnie Stiff.
His son, Dr. Bertram Stiff said his father was a "pillar of the community."
“Literally, since my childhood, we couldn’t go to the local grocery store or warehouse store, or anywhere out in the community and at least have one person say, ‘Oh hey Dr. Stiff! How’re you doing?',” Dr. Bertram Stiff recalled.
Dr. Stiff was a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. His wife, a pediatrician.
“They’re like celebrities," Dr. Jones said. "Everybody knows them, everyone says either my dad delivered them or my mom took care of their children.”
Dr. Jones said her dad was known for his keen intelligence, jovial nature and great sense of humor.
He got sick in January, testing positive for COVID-19.
“My dad was trying desperately to get a vaccination," Dr. Jones said. "I mean, they met the criteria to be at the top of the list but were not vaccinated in time.
She said it was difficult watching her father, fight the virus, especially knowing how hard her parents tried to get a vaccine, and despite initial reports of vaccine hesitancy, she knows many others also want the shot.
"When I hear the reports of vaccine hesitancy, I understand it’s out there but I work in the community," she said. "I know our folks in the community and I know many people trying to get vaccinated.”
Dr. Stiff died on March 17. He was 77 years old.
“Every day there is something at some point in time that has hit me or that would hit anyone in this situation where it’s hard to keep it together," Dr. Bertram Stiff said.
There is a viewing on March 26, and the funeral will take place on March 27.