VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A well-known small business owner in Virginia Beach has lost his battle with coronavirus.
Preston Midgett, the owner of Jungle Golf at the Oceanfront, died this week at the age of 61.
His wife wrote in an online post that he was taken off life support Monday night at a hospital in Charlottesville.
Their daughter Tara told WAVY News on Tuesday, “My father passed away peacefully last night wrapped in love by our family and friends.”
Kim Midgett had been posting a daily journal online since December describing her husband’s struggles and asking for prayers.
10 On Your Side previously reported about the dozens of Virginia Beach businesses that had rallied for Midgett, posting signs rooting for his recovery.
He was a father of two and a longtime leader in the resort area community.
Rachel Cook said Tuesday was one of the hardest days she ever had after she learned her boss and friend had died.
“I can’t imagine it here without him. I don’t know what we are going to do,” she said. “He cared not just about his business but about the whole resort city. This was his home and it showed in everything that he did.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Midgett family released a statement on their loved one’s death.
“My family and I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the huge outpouring of love and support throughout Preston’s battle with this horrible disease and for your expressions of condolence following Preston’s death. You came to my rescue when I needed you the last few weeks and I will need you even more as our family tries to come to terms with our loss.
“As the family grieves, we take some degree of solace in celebrating his incredible life with all of you and the long and lasting legacy he leaves at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Preston was so much more than a loving father and husband; he was a true son of Virginia Beach. He loved this city and its people with all his heart.
“For now we ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time. I hope in the days ahead I will be able to thank each and every one of you for your prayers and your support.”
That message slowly began to trickle down to the friends and community members who had been supporting him over the last several months.
“Preston will be remembered as a man who dedicated much of his life to the betterment and beautification of Virginia Beach Oceanfront,” said Joe Taylor, a lifelong friend.
He said this is a loss for the whole community.
“He touched so many people as he knew so many and was respected by all,” said Taylor.
Cook said she is still in disbelief.
“He’s the strongest man I know and he had so many prayers and people pulling for him that I just, I just knew he was going to beat this and he was going to make it. He fought so hard, he’s such a fighter, he’s a machine. It is a surprise: it’s shocking and sad — devastating,” she said.
Cook said although the pain is still fresh right now, at some point she does plan to create a memorial of some sort to honor and remember their beloved boss.