Shirley Bannister, 57, died from complications of COVID-19 this past Sunday, according to her brother. Shirley’s daughter, Demetria Bannister, a 28-year-old elementary school teacher, died from COVID-19 several days after testing positive.
Demetria was a third-grade teacher at Windsor Elementary School in Columbia while Shirley, also a teacher, was chair of the nursing department at Midlands Technical College in Columbia.
Shirley Bannister had a history of asthma and diabetes, and after she tested positive for the coronavirus, “she actually went to the hospital twice, the second time they decided to keep her,” said Shirley’s brother Dennis Bell. “She had so much to give, so this is like an unexpected gut punch for the whole family.”
Ronald Rhames, president of Midlands Technical College, said that Bannister earned her nursing degree at the college and returned years later to teach. “My heart is broken. Shirley was like an angel on Earth. Her life mission was caring for others,” Rhames said.
Bell also said that Bannister and her daughter “were the best of friends.”
“They’d go to dinner together, they’d go to the movies, go to concerts and things like that, and they planned events together. Demetria, in a sense, was just like her mother,” Bell said.
Bannister grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and was an active member of St. Mark’s Baptist Church. She is survived by her husband, Dennis Bannister.
South Carolina has had 146,000 cases of COVID-19 and 3,337 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to The New York Times. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States has topped 200,000. There have been more than 7 million COVID-19 cases, a number likely to increase as the United States braces for winter and flu season.