Because of the no visitors policy his family was not able to be with him when he passed. The nursing staff taking care of Abbott in the ICU facilitated a family facetime around 10pm last night so they could say their final goodbyes.
Family members put out a final call to their many followers to pray for a miracle.
Abbott was admitted to the hospital on April 3, where he went straight into the ICU to be put on a ventilator. For the next five days he fought the low oxygen levels, an irregular heartbeat, and finally liver and kidney failure.
“We love you so much daddy!!! We will miss you forever! The corner piece of my life’s puzzle is now gone,” Bethany Abbott Riportella Yaplee’s posted on her facebook page.
Five members of the Abbott family have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Abbott’s older daughter, Stephany Parkey, a pastor’s wife in Memphis, Tennessee, flew to California on March 14 to sing at a funeral in Tulare. Parkey then fell sick in Tennessee seven days later on March 21 and was taken to the hospital where she tested positive for COVID – 19. The source of her infection was unknown.
Parkey self-quarantined at her home in TN and has since fully recovered.
While in Tulare she stayed with her parents Ron Abbott and Margie Abbott. According Yaplee’s facebook page, her father started showing severe symptoms the weekend of March 21.
In her facebook post, Yaplee stated that before his diagnosis, Abbott had already lost 20lbs from a prior respiratory illness contracted on a family cruise in January.
Margie Abbott, his wife, was also suffering from symptoms of the virus while taking care of Abbott for 12 days as he struggled to recover at home. Abbot’s wife of 52 years is still in quarantine at the couple’s house and is recovering.
While Abbott remained the patriarch of the church, his son-in-law Mickey Grogan had taken over as Pastor of Abundant Life Church a few years ago.
Grogan was hospitalized April 2 because of low oxygen levels. He was discharged April 7 and is recovering at home with supplemental oxygen. Grogan’s wife and Abbott’s daughter, Tiffany Grogan, was diagnosed with the coronavirus but suffered few symptoms.
As recently as March 22, Abundant Life Church was conducting services on a live stream without the congregation in attendance but with a dozen members of the choir and musicians together on stage. Grogan had obvious symptoms of the virus during the live feed.
Because rumors have spread that the coronavirus is not real or is greatly over-blown, a theory shared by the religious right, a fellow Pentecostal pastor from Vacaville posted his condolences on Abbott’s facebook page adding, “Please no dumb & insensitive comments about this COVID-19 being a govt hoax/conspiracy. Support these families with prayer. Thank you.”
Bethany Abbott Riportella Yaplee wrote upon learning of her sister’s diagnosis “I am not an alarmist but the reality is more than i expected!!…. WAKE UP PEOPLE!! This is not a hoax, it’s not a joke!!”
She added, “I realized not just the importance to wash your hands but all the surfaces a virus can live on! Realizing the basics of how a virus spreads (if you need to understand this, watch Contagion.”)
Ron Abbott was also owner of Top Dog Kennel. Since his illness, Edwin, his employee, has taken over the sales part of the business along with tending to the kennels. As recently as April 2 Top Dog Kennel’s facebook page was advertising a litter of chocolate, yellow, and black Labrador puppies for sale.
Edwin stated that a litter of Labradoodles will be ready for sale in May and a litter of Doxies well be ready in June.
Edwin didn’t know if the business could survive without Abbott as the rest of the family had not taken an active role in running the kennel. He added that the kennel also had to reduce the number of dogs since the county imposed stricter regulations on commercial breeders.