Former Milwaukee firefighter, Navy veteran dies from COVID-19

Former Milwaukee Firefighter Lawrence Riley, 66, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, is the first person in the city to die from COVID-19

By Laura French

MILWAUKEE — A former Milwaukee firefighter and Navy veteran is the first COVID-19-related death in the city.

Lawrence Riley, 66, first became ill on March 12 and died on March 19, according to WTMJ.

Riley served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and was a member of the Milwaukee Fire Department from 1978 to 1990. He is survived by his wife, six children and eight grandchildren.

Riley’s son, Elvaughn Riley, told WTMJ last week that just days after his father became sick, he lost his ability to walk and was later placed in a coma and put on a ventilator. He described his father as a family man, “a hero and an icon.”

A funeral date could not be set due to the ongoing pandemic, but the family said they have received support and condolences from many and hope to plan some form of memorial to honor the elder Riley.

Elvaughn Riley said he is unsure where his father may have contracted the virus and urged people to educate themselves and follow procedures to help reduce the spread.

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