Posted: Oct 18, 2014 11:39 PM EST Updated: Oct 19, 2014 10:55 AM EST
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – Family and friends of Thomas Duncan remembered the 42 year old Saturday at memorial service in Salisbury. He is the first and so far only person to die of Ebola in the U.S.
Rubbing away tears, praying and singing is how family and friends honored Thomas Eric Duncan.
“He was such a compassionate young man respectful young man,” said retired United Methodist Bishop Arthur Kulah.
The Liberian native who contracted Ebola before flying to the US was remembered Saturday as a loving and big-hearted man who went to great lengths to help everyone. Loved ones gathered Saturday at Rowan International Church on N. Lee St. to remember Duncan.Duncan’s mother and other family members live in nearby Kannapolis but worship at the Salisbury church.
“I would like him to be remembered as that kind of person as compared to the person that brought this disease to America because he didn’t know he was sick,” said Duncan’s nephew Josephus Weeks.
Duncan’s neighbors in Liberia believe he was infected by helping a pregnant woman who later died from Ebola.
The family who waited over 20 years to see Duncan never had the opportunity to see him face to face but spoke to him while he was in the hospital battling the virus.
“They (hospital) had a Skype TV set up for us so we could see him,” said Weeks. “He was under medication so we couldn’t really know if he heard us.”
The family did get to speak to him the Friday before he died not knowing it would be their last conversation.
“I said well get some rest man let your body relax so the medicine could work and you could get better and come down to us and he said ok and that was it,” said Weeks.
Duncan is also survived by four children, none could attend the memorial service. No one at Saturday’s service had physical contact with Duncan while he was sick.
Forty-eight people in Dallas who did have contact with Duncan, including his fiancée and roommates are being monitored for symptoms until Sunday, the end of a 21-day incubation period for the disease.
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