The Faces of COVID-19: Corinne Theel

Jul 9, 2020, 7:30 AM
(Courtesy Theel Family)
(Courtesy Theel Family)

SALT LAKE CITY – Corinne Theel’s family says she was a fighter who was passionate about standing up for what she believed in and helping others. But COVID-19 was one fight she could not win. 

The Salt Lake City native was a special education teacher for several years, according to her son Matt Theel. 

“She worked with students with disabilities that were in a pretty severe class…She had everything from mild to moderate to severe all mixed in one. She did that for 10 years,” Theel said. 

Corinne left teaching to start a family.

But Matt says she always stood up for causes close to her heart, like animal rights and LGBTQ and Indigenous rights. 

Corinne was retired and living in a long term care facility when she became sick. 

“She was in a long term care facility, which you hear about a lot. What happened was, two of the employees got [COVID-19], and then she was given a test the Wednesday before she passed. And she didn’t have it. Two days later, on Friday, she did have it,” Theel said. 

Four days after that final positive test, Corinne Theel passed away. 

Matt says his mother had underlying conditions, but she had survived close calls throughout her life, so her death from COVID-19 was still surprising. 

“It was just amazing to see how fast something like that takes someone of that spirit,” Theel said. 

The family said their goodbyes to Corinne over the phone. 

Matt Theel hopes his mother’s and their family’s experience will get people to take COVID-19 more seriously. 

“At least she went peacefully, would be the only good thing I could say about it…I wish people understood it was very, very, very real, and I just don’t want somebody to have to go through not being able to say goodbye to their parents the way that I did,” Theel said. 

The family is delaying Corinne Theel’s memorial service until next year. 

In addition to her son, she leaves behind her parents, sister, daughter, and two grandchildren.

KSL and our partners at, 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



Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States


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The Faces of COVID-19: Corinne Theel