COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The 85-year-old Columbus man who died from the coronavirus in Minnesota has been identified as Robert Short. Short was from Tennessee, grew up in Indiana, but lived the rest of his life in Columbus, Ohio where he looked to better other people’s lives.
He was the son of a preacher and his children say faith, family and education were very important to their dad.
“He had a great life. He traveled the world,” said Robert’s youngest son Montague Short. “He had beautiful kids, a beautiful wife and I don’t think dad would have changed one thing.”
Robert Short’s three kids, Montague, Mitzi, and Mark, can laugh now because they truly believe their dad lived the life he wanted to live with no regrets.
He was the oldest of five children and was first in his family to go to college and was also part of the ROTC.
His youngest son said his dad has roots in Tennessee and Indiana, but he considered Columbus, Ohio home and also considered the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church home. He met his wife at the church and served as a long-time Deacon while being on the Chaired Deacon Board and Chaired Pulpit Committee, which brought Dr. Charles E. Booth to Columbus.
“My dad was an old-fashioned, God-hearing man,” said Robert’s daughter Mitzi.
Short also cared about the Columbus community, specifically the black and undeserved communities while serving as the Board Chair for the Coalition of Concerned Black Citizens from 1989 to 1995.
“We always knew what dad stood for. Everybody did,” Mitzi said. “They knew that he would stand up for what was right regardless if it was a popular thing or not.”
Through all of his work, his kids said he still put family first and enjoyed spending time with them and was doing just that on March 9th on their annual family vacation to Mexico, a place they’ve traveled to every year since 2001.
The family took pictures and Robert seemed healthy, but about a week into the trip he started feeling sick thinking it was a cold.
“He said, ‘Hey I’ve had worse colds before,'” said Mitzi.
At the time, no one thought it was the coronavirus, but because of the spread they decided to cut the trip short and came back to Minneapolis on March 20th. It was the only direct flight close to home.
In less than 24 hours, Robert went from walking off the airplane to making one final call to his daughter.
“He said he was in his room, and he was going to be admitted, here was the number, and good night I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” Mitzi said.
On March 21st he was placed on a respirator and died one day later.
“If the doctor would have told him, there’s a chance when I put you on here that this could go bad he would have said ‘Okay but before you do that, before I take any last breaths, you’re going to call my kids,'” Montague said.
The family said they’re still working to get funeral arrangements complete, but the stay at home order makes it difficult to get all of his loved ones together.