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Michigan man hadn’t used a sick day in 25 years until COVID-19 struck


Brendel Hightower
 
| Detroit Free Press

DETROIT – It took COVID-19 to force Brian Shatter, a dedicated manager at Tires Unlimited, to take his first sick day in the 25 years he had worked there. Several weeks later, he died March 28 after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Shatter, 63, of Dearborn, Michigan, was born and raised in Detroit with his five siblings. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Susan, for almost 38 years.

Each summer when Shatter was a child, his parents took the family on two-week vacations, driving across the country to visit places like New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Disney World, Texas and more.

Following in his parents’ footsteps, Shatter, a big history buff, did the same for his family. Destinations would always include historic sites and a zoo.

In recent years, Shatter and his wife got the travel bug, according to his daughter Ashley Scanlon, and became cruise people. “They were planning an Italy cruise for 2021,” she said.

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Shatter had a green thumb, and he spent weekends outdoors as much as possible. He tended to his yard, loved his garden and spent many years cultivating his pond. “He took pride in having the greenest grass on the block,” Scanlon said.

Being “Papa” to his grandchildren meant the world to Shatter, who was known for his quick wit and good humor and for being a great cook.

“He made the best spaghetti, grape leaves, macaroni and cheese and iced tea,” Scanlon said.

Shatter’s only symptom leading up to his diagnosis was fatigue for about a week. His doctor said he was fine, but about 10 days later, he checked himself into the hospital and stayed for one night. He was tested for COVID-19 (at that time it took 14 days for results) and his chest X-rays came back clear, so he went home.

A week later, his wife took him back to the hospital, and he was immediately put on a ventilator. The next day, he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He died a week after that.

Shatter’s wife ended up with pneumonia and died May 16. She was tested for the coronavirus multiple times, but her results came back negative.

Shatter is survived by his children Ashley (Anthony) Scanlon, Jason Shatter and Angela Briones; grandchildren Mia, Albie and Rogan; his father, Edward Shatter; and siblings Stephen (Kurt) Chater, Timothy (Roxanne) Shatter, Jennifer (Jerry) Stembridge, Donna Shatter and Philip (Terri) Shatter.

Reach Brendel Hightower of the Detroit Free Press at [email protected] 

Follow the Detroit Free Press on Twitter: @freep

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