Condolences continue to pour in for a woman who contracted COVID-19 and died, along with her sister and mother.
Regina Lee, 58, is the first known Costco employee in the United States to die of COVID-19. She worked for 20 years as a Costco travel agent and continued to go to the office because the company did not allow employees to work from home. She collapsed at her home in Everett on the night of March 15, after picking up an extra shift the day before, during which she coughed so much that she struggled to catch her breath. She died the following day.
Her mother, Susie, 82, and sister, Willa, 60, who lived with her, also came down with the disease and died on March 27 and 29, respectively.
Regina Lee’s death came less than two weeks after Costco CEO Craig Jelinek reportedly emailed workers at the company’s campus in Issaquah, that allowing them to work at home would be unfair to colleagues at its stores who couldn’t do so.
“[Regina] was one of the sweetest souls you could ever know,” co-worker Sarah Snyder wrote on Facebook. “Costco corporate has long made the mistake of trying to treat an office the same as a physical warehouse. They are not the same environment at all and it was foolish in my opinion for them not to close the office much earlier.”
After Lee’s death, Costco began allowing corporate employees to work from home.
Too little, too late, said Regina’s brother, Raymond. He told BuzzFeed News that his sisters were getting ready to retire and they had just paid off the mortgage on their home. Willa worked for Verax Biomedical as a trainer director for more than 20 years
Rev Bergquist wrote on Regina’s obituary page, “Regina was a soft spoken, thoughtful, kind, endearing, humorous and a very generous person. Always so giving and being a big sister to me.”
Sally Keene said Regina “was a person who’d notice and compliment your new haircut first thing, bought your cookies at every bake sale, she’s always cheerful even when it’s storming outside, and she was a friend to all of us who knew her.”