Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Hannah Hargrove-Roberts was one of our Lake Highlands’ Fierce Females in 2018. Hargrove-Roberts has spent the past six years managing and revamping her family’s business, Orr-Reed Wrecking. On Friday, March 27, her grandfather, Cecil ‘Mac’ Hargrove, died of COVID-19. While her family grieves, they are unable to comfort each other in person and tentatively plan for a funeral in July.

Hannah Hargrove-Roberts and her grandfather Cecil on her wedding day. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Hargrove-Roberts.)

What happened with your grandfather?

He is a Dallas native. He and my parents have lived in Dallas since 1966. My grandparents lived off Maple Ridge in Lake Highlands and then in the 1980s, they moved to Highland Park. They went to Spain and decided to self quarantine in Pennsylvania. They have an apartment off of my uncle’s house. They were fine. Every day they were checking temperatures. There was nothing wrong, no issues. Then on Wednesday, he had shortness of breath, no fever. He suffered from COPD [Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and rheumatoid arthritis so he hit a lot of the at-risk categories, but it was assumed he was having his regular allergy season asthmas. On Thursday morning, it was getting worse.

“There’s not an adjective to describe him. He was just a mold of his own.”

My grandparents were quarantined in their apartment, but they weren’t interacting with my uncle, his children and his wife. But on Thursday morning my grandma went to my uncle and said she didn’t know what to do. They gave him a breathing treatment. They ended up calling the ambulance and taking him to the hospital. An x-ray showed bilateral pneumonia. Tests came back and showed it was COVID-19. They had already decided they weren’t going to use a ventilator because my granddad didn’t want to waste one in case somebody young needed one. My uncle asked if a ventilator would make a difference. The doctor said, “I would not do that to my own father. He’s going to die anyway.” Within 14 hours, he was dead. It was quick.

Has your grandmother been tested? How is she doing?

She has been tested, and she’s not showing symptoms. It’s hasn’t been two weeks since she was exposed. For now she’s fine, but we won’t know for weeks.

How has your family been?

We’re a big family. My grandparents had four sons. My dad died in 2013, but there are still three living sons, spouses, 11 grandchildren and about 22 nieces and nephews. We’re all very close, but we can’t be together. We’re devastated. Yes, he fit all of the high risk categories, but he was a person. He mattered. He fought for the Civil Rights movement in the ’60s, and he raised four boys, he helped form Bishop Arts to what it is today. He was an amazing man.

What work did your grandfather do for the Civil Rights movement and Bishop Arts?

He was a Baptist pastor. He used his platform to show people that the color of your skin did not matter — God loved everybody. For Bishop Arts, he was a real estate broker. They helped people who might not fit the best credit profiles but would bring good things to the neighborhood. There’s not an adjective to describe him. He was just a mold of his own. He was one of my best friends, which is kind of dorky that I was best friends with an 84 year old, but he was my buddy.

(Photo courtesy of Hannah Hargrove-Roberts.)

What’s going on with people on your street in Old Lake Highlands?

What’s happening is people are doing bike rides, but they’re letting their kids play together while the adults are socially distancing. I get it. I have a very cooped up 4 year old. I understand, but it’s not about us. It’s not about our kids being bored for a few weeks. It’s about how we have to shut down the world. I own a business that’s an essential business. I can’t be there right now. My employees are there, but even that is scary. If my business wasn’t open, employees couldn’t repay their houses. People that have to work need to be able to work without being in fear that everybody around them is infected.

What would you want to say to neighbors and readers?

My grandfather is everybody’s grandfather. We have to do our part to protect these people. We have to do our part because without it, all of our grandparents are at risk. It’s for the sick kid battling cancer right now, it’s for my asthmatic self, it’s for all of us. We have to do what we can and that means not socializing just because your kids are bored.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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