Jose Santoyo of Riverside succumbed from COVID-19 earlier this week, two days after making it to 61 years old, according to his family. He’s one of at least 117 people who have died of the coronavirus in Riverside County.
Santoyo moved to the U.S. at 29 years old for a better future for himself and his wife and went on to have six children, his daughter Kristenn Santoyo said.
He held two jobs, one at a farm and another at a plumbing manufacturer, when he arrived to the U.S. He then spent 26 years as an electrician who worked on Riverside Transit Agency buses until 2015, when he had to have his leg amputated due to complications from diabetes, according to his family.
Kristenn Santoyo described her father as a family man, a grandfather to 12 and a father figure to her own two children.
“His home was the Friday night hang out, from barbecues to family parties,” said Kristenn, who started a GoFundMe page for his funeral expenses. “He was always excited because the family was coming over, he was a very hard worker, and loved us all through our wild years and never gave up on anyone in his family.”
She added, “My father was the embodiment of unconditional love. He always had a kind, heartwarming smile on his face and for that he will always be remembered.”
According to the latest information from state officials, COVID-19 has killed at least 1,651 people in California. More than 41,000 positive cases have been confirmed in the state.
In a recent press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom said those who have died are not merely “statistics.”
“These are human beings, stories, journeys — each and every one of them precious. And our heart goes out to their families and loved ones,” Newsom said.