Johnson County?s first coronavirus death was a retired biology teacher-turned school superintendent and part-time professional magician.

Dennis Wilson, of Lenexa, who was in his 70s, died Saturday morning just five days after tests confirmed he had COVID-19, his wife wrote in a long and heartfelt post on her Facebook page.

?The fight is over,? Joanna Wilson wrote on Saturday evening. ?I am absolutely heartbroken! It has been an indescribably horrible week of immeasurable suffering on the part of the love of my life and then certainly on the part of our three children and our 6 grandchildren who could only watch helplessly from a distance.?

A graduate of Fort Scott High School in southeast Kansas, Wilson studied biology at Pittsburg State University and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as well as school administration at the University of Kansas. A teacher and principal, he later served as superintendent of Labette County USD 506 in southeast Kansas and Lamar R-1 School District in Missouri.
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Wilson also loved magic. A part-time magician for the past 25 years, he performed on stage and for corporate events, private functions, festivals, fairs and school fundraisers. He was scheduled to perform Saturday at Planet Comicon Kansas City at Bartle Hall, according to a website for the event. The event was canceled, however, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Throughout the past week, Joanna Wilson had provided detailed updates on her husband?s condition. She said he had gone to an urgent care clinic on March 12 after having flu-like symptoms and not feeling well for about a week. He was told to go home, she said, drink plenty of fluids and rest. The next night, she wrote, he went to a different urgent care clinic. After testing negative for influenza A and B, she said, he was sent home again and told to drink fluids and rest.

Wilson had more energy last Sunday, his wife wrote, but by 9 that night had become short of breath. When it got worse, she took him to AdventHealth in Lenexa at midnight, and a chest X-ray showed he had bilateral pneumonia. Joanna Wilson said even though the doctor suspected he had COVID-19, her husband did not meet the criteria for testing

At 4 a.m. Monday, Wilson was taken by ambulance to the AdventHealth Shawnee Mission campus in Overland Park. Joanna Wilson said after she arrived at the hospital, she was told she could not enter and had to be quarantined at her home for two weeks.

?Never in a million years would I ever have thought we would be in such a situation! Never!? she wrote that night. Three hours later, she added: ?Test results back: Confirmed! Please keep us in your prayers. And pray hard. Please!?

She was allowed to see her husband for five hours on Tuesday.

?Dennis is still so very ill,? Joanna Wilson wrote on Facebook afterward. ?Covid-19 has a strong hold on his lungs and won?t let go! His pneumonia is extensive and debilitating and potentially very deadly! And as long as that?s the case then he will need life support. Please continue to pray for him!?

On Saturday evening, she posted a devastating update. Her husband?s condition had been worsening every day, she wrote, and when she?d gotten up in the morning, she called the hospital to check on him. The doctor wanted to talk to the family, she was told, and if she could gather the children in the parking lot he would come out. But just as she was ready to head out the door, she said, the nurse called and told her that her husband had died.

While she was in the hospital signing paperwork, she said, the children had congregated in the parking lot, pulling their vehicles into a circle like a wagon train.

?Then I walked out, accompanied by Dennis? doctor along with the director of the ICU, to the parking lot so they could meet our family,? she wrote. Then for nearly an hour longer, she and the children talked about what to do next.

?Luke broke out of the circle for a few minutes and went to McDonald?s and came back to the circle with a bag full of double quarter pounders with cheese,? Joanna Wilson wrote. ?Not for any of us, but for me to take home to Simon, Dennis? dog, because he always treated Simon to a cheeseburger now and then.?

When she arrived home, she realized that ?it?s final.?

?I walked into my home now knowing for sure he would never walk through the door again,? she wrote. ?And now I start another complete quarantine, and think what kind of funeral I can plan from home, knowing it might not take place for quite awhile and might be a lot less than I think he deserves. More travesty!

?And then, I have the task of completely ridding our home and belongings of Covid-19, something I?m not quite sure I know how to do or have the energy for. I cannot go anywhere or have visitors in so I?m now finding myself in the grips of great sorrow and grief completely alone. Where do I begin??

In an email sent to The Star on Saturday night, Luke Wilson wrote that his father had recently retired and moved to Kansas City to be closer to two of his three children.

?He was just like any other grandparent, full of happy moments ahead. Just last week he was going to Home Depot and tiling his bathroom,? Luke wrote.

?Dennis was technically elderly but pretty damn healthy for a man in his 70s. The virus is stealth, isolating and cruel; seemingly coming out of nowhere, infecting him early in the outbreak without high-risk exposure or travel. We were unprepared to handle this enemy and my beautiful father paid the ultimate price.

?But I?d like to thank all of you who reached out this last week offering thoughts, prayers, and memories. This disease isolates us and interferes with our ability to care for one another and grieve together. Thank you for all the help you gave me and my family.?