Remembering The Utahns We’ve Lost: Corrine Theel

Jun 18, 2020, 8:59 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Life wasn’t always easy for Corrine Theel, but she was always fighting to make life easier for others.

“She’s just always been an advocate for those who can’t stand up for themselves,” Matt Theel recalled as he reflected on memories of his mother.

Corrine spent a decade teaching students with special needs before devoting her full time to raising her son and daughter. She passed on her passions to her children and her son Matt now teaches special education, thanks to her influence.

Corrine spent the last several years in long-term care facilities, which is where she was exposed to the novel coronavirus. After two employees at the facility tested positive, Theel was tested and after an initial negative result, tested positive.

The disease took over fast. From her diagnosis on Friday, May 1, it was only four days before her battle was over.

“She did have underlying conditions,” Matt said, “Which doesn’t make it hurt any less. I still couldn’t be with my mom when she died.”

Matt, his sister Jen, Corrine’s parents, sister Melanie and her two grandchildren had to say goodbye by phone. A memorial service will not be held until at least 2021.

Seeing people downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19 was frustrating for Matt Theel.

“I wish people understood that it was very, very, very real,” he said. “I don’t want somebody to have to go through not being able to say goodbye to their parents the way I did.”

Matt Theel remembered his mom as a fighter, but COVID-19 was one fight she couldn’t win.

“I honestly thought she would pull through and it would be fine and we would laugh about it,” Matt said. “It was just amazing to see how fast something like that could take someone of that spirit.”

We are honored to share the memory of Corrine Theel. She is just one of more than 150 Utahns who have died from COVID-19.

KSL and our partners at KSL.com, KSL Newsradio and the Deseret News are honored to share their stories as we come together as a state to remember the Utahns we’ve lost.

If you’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19 and would like to help us pay tribute to them, email us at COVID@KSL.com.

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Remembering The Utahns We’ve Lost: Corrine Theel