Over the winter, the couple walked one or two kilometres every day in the woods around their home. At the beginning of March, his portable defibrillator activated, meaning his heart was in trouble.
They went first to Wakefield Hospital until he was stabilized and then to the Heart Institute.
Wilmot said doctors there said they thought he was a good candidate for a procedure to improve the function of his mitral valve, but then a number of complications delayed that surgery while work was done to stabilize him.
After another patient tested positive for COVID-19, Smith was tested and was positive as well, said Wilmot.
By then, his condition was worsening and he stopped all other treatments.
Wilmot, who worked in many hospitals, praised staff as well as the cleanliness of the Heart Institute.
“They did everything they could. This kind of thing happens. I have nothing but admiration for the women and men who work there.”
Before they headed to the hospital, Wilmot said Smith took time to build a fire in their home that is mostly heated with wood, saying he wanted her to be warm when she came home.
“He was such a strong bugger.”
His family said they would welcome donations to the Heart Institute and in lieu of a memorial asked friends “to keep him in your heart and share one of his jokes.”
This content was originally published here.