PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Sue Evans, according to her niece Amanda Meunier, was a fighter.

The Providence woman had survived multiple strokes in 2019, and was overcoming the odds that were stacked against her.

“She was eating what she wanted, she was talking, she recognized us, she knew who we were when we saw her,” Meunier explained, adding that her aunt was also in the process of learning how to walk again.

Due to her medical condition, Evans had been homebound and couldn’t go out in public even before the pandemic began. Meunier said her family thought she was safe until she suddenly began feeling ill a couple of weeks ago.

“My cousin decided to bring her to the hospital [on Monday] because she wasn’t getting better,” Meunier said. “That day they tested her in the emergency department for COVID-19.”

Evans’ results came back positive, and within less than 24 hours, she passed away. The hardest part, Meunier said, is that none of her family members were able to see her in the hospital before she died.

“That has been really hard for my family to cope with, knowing that they weren’t there at the end of her life,” Meunier said, adding that Evans has eight grandchildren.

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Meunier said Evans was the matriarch of her family, especially after her husband, a Vietnam War veteran, died from exposure to Agent Orange.

Right now, they’re unsure how Evans became exposed to the virus.

“She does have some people that come to her home that help with her care, and my family members are still working, so they’re currently being tested themselves to see if they’re positive,” Meunier said.

After the sudden loss, Meunier is urging everyone to take the pandemic seriously.

“I think a lot of people think it’s not going to affect them, it’s not going to affect somebody they love,” she said. “But they need to assume that every person they come into contact with is positive.”

Right now, Meunier said her family is waiting for restrictions on gatherings to be lifted before making funeral arrangements. When it is safe to do so, they plan to have a ceremony at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery, where Evans will be laid to rest alongside her late husband.