Andre Devore did not have an easy life — he was beset by health problems. But his sister, Dorothy, said he still lived to make people happy.
“The thing I will always remember about him is he always made you laugh,” she said. “He was the clown of the family.”
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Devore didn’t have coronavirus when he went to Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. He was there for routine dialysis to treat his renal kidney failure diabetes. He was told he had a fever and would have to go home to quarantine. When he returned for his next treatment a couple of days later, doctors told him he had tested positive and would have to remain in the hospital.
“He was getting his dialysis,” his sister said. “The doctor called one day to say he was breathing fine. But his breathing went down, and they had to give him oxygen.”
Devore said she spoke to her brother several times until the battery ran out in his phone, and no one was allowed to bring him a charger. After that, she had to rely on doctors for updates.
“It was good news at first,” she said. “His blood oxygen went up to 94 percent”
That good news didn’t last.
“One day the doctor called and said, ‘He’s having trouble breathing,’” Devore said. “’If it doesn’t go back up, we’ll have to put him on a ventilator.’ I said, ‘Don’t. They kill people.’”
Andre Devore would develop a lung infection from that ventilator. On April 16, his sister was told his condition had declined and he had to be resuscitated twice. Early the next morning, he died. He was 55.
“We are such a big, loving family,” Dorothy Devore said. “But when he was dying, only one of our brothers was allowed to see him.”
As it is for so many families, the saddest part was not being able to say goodbye.
Andre Devore was a true child of Brooklyn, one of four brothers and one sister, raised in Brownsville by their mother, Willie Mae Devore, who died in 2010. He graduated from George W. Wingate High School in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
“He was a good brother,” Dorothy said. “He was overprotective like all of my brothers because I’m the only girl.”
He worked in mailrooms around the city, but he always battled health issues, like high blood pressure and diabetes. That didn’t stop him from doing the things he loved.
“He loved to eat,” his sister said. “And he loved to travel. He didn’t get to go away often, but when he did he enjoyed it so much was ready to travel more and more. He never left the country, but he traveled down south, to North and South Carolina. His next trip was going to be to Mississippi.”
Along with his sister and brothers, he leaves behind a son, Davon, and two grandchildren. His family will have to wait to say goodbye. And for someone who lived to make people happy, claiming his body from the overwhelmed hospital was nothing short of traumatic.
“We had to send them a photograph,” his sister said. “They sent us one back to identify him. He still had the tube in his mouth and there was blood on his face. We couldn’t even give him a funeral; they just cremated him.”
They’re planning a memorial later in the year, maybe on his birthday.
It’s not just his family who will miss him. Devore said her brother will be mourned by many in his Brownsville neighborhood, where everyone called him “Dre.” But, she says, she wants the world to remember Andre, and the joy he brought to anyone who knew him.
“I would like the world to remember that Andre was a good, fun person. Everybody that knew him knew they’d have fun around him. When you come around him, you’re laughing because he makes you laugh. He was like the life of the party.”
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