HONEY BROOK—Those who knew Connie Lefever describe her as a caring, kind and passionate person. She was the kind of person, they said, who would give her life to help someone.
On June 2, she did just that.
Lefever was a Licensed Practical Nurse at Hickory House Nursing Home in Honey Brook, a facility that provides 24-hour skilled nursing care. In May, as the coronavirus crisis gripped the nation, she cared for patients suffering from the disease, knowing she was putting herself at risk.
In June, she died of complications from coronavirus.
"We don't know exactly where she got it because in May there weren't that many cases here, but she was a very kind and sweet nurse," said Cathie Thompson, director of business development at Hickory House. "She worked here for 22 years, and her death impacted all employees and there were a lot of nurses very close to her."
Connie Lefever was 48. She left behind a daughter, Emily, 12, who Connie's friends said was the love of her life.
"Emily and her were inseparable," said Chris Robbins, Connie's sister. "Connie was just a beautiful person who raised an amazing daughter. She gave her heart to Hickory House and the patients she cared for."
Robbins and her husband now have custody of Emily and plan to adopt her after family court gets back in session. It was Connie's wish. Emily spent many weekends at the Robbins' house when she was younger.
The past couple of months Emily had a hard time dealing with her mother's death and received help from therapists and counselors. Today, Chris Robbins said, she is doing well.
"She always worked hard and loved being a nurse," Emily said. "We had an amazing relationship. Anytime I needed her, she was there. She was the best mom I could ever ask for. Her smile always made me smile."
Connie, who lived in East Earl, Lancaster County and was a graduate of Downingtown Senior High School and CAT Brandywine Nursing School, worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift at Hickory House, and worked many weekends. She was one of the most popular nurses at Hickory House because of her positive attitude and big smile. She would go out of her way to make sure the residents she cared for got what they needed.
But her personal life was filled with challenges.
"Connie never had an easy life," her sister Chris said. "Things happened, she got married and got divorced. She moved it with us after her divorce and she just had a rough time. She even worked lots of extra shifts when (the coronavirus crisis) hit."
Chris and Connie's mother tested positive for coronavirus last month.
"COVID has hit very close to home for us," Chris said.
Now, Chris said she and her husband are focusing on Emily, trying to get Emily past the huge emotional hurdle of her mother's death. They are starting a series of fundraisers to help with Emily's education. The first will be a chicken barbecue fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hickory House. Dinners are $10 and include chicken, baked potato, applesauce, roll and drink. Dinners can be picked up in the parking lot. To purchase tickets, contact Nicole DeMese at 610-273-1622.
"She was so young," Thompson said. "She was just overall a really good person."