Family mourns loss of father to COVID-19 while their mother battles the virus


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Lexington family is dealing with a particularly cruel battle with the coronavirus.

Albert Lee, Jr., and his wife of 41-years, Bernessia, both contracted COVID-19.  Sadly, Albert died, Bernessia remains hospitalized.

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Albert Lee Jr. and Bernessia Lee

Albert Lee died April 26.  The loss was sudden and heavy for children Doyle Lee and Tamika Lang.  “I didn’t get to hold my dad’s hand, there was no one in the room physically when he died, that is painful and it’s not anything anyone should have to experience,” said Tamika.

The Vietnam Veteran and his beloved wife were inseparable.  “We didn’t see one without the other.  As a matter of fact, one person told me that they have never seen my mother without my father,” said Doyle.

The family mourns with the additional pain of not being able to have a proper funeral.  “I don’t believe things will ever be the same. It will just be different going forward and just trying to share this with children and loved ones, it has been a challenge,” Doyle said.

Albert Lee Jr.

The children describe their father as someone who knew everyone and if if it weren’t for the coronavirus and its restrictions, the family could fill Rupp Arena for their dad’s funeral.  Drained by the loss of their father, the family is digging deep emotionally to find the strength to get their mother through the illness, even at a distance.  “Being able to grieve our father properly and still being able to support our mom and celebrate our mom’s hopeful complete recovery, it’s just not been a normal situation,” said Tamika.

But there is an additional burden for the family.  Bernessia Lee doesn’t know yet that her husband is gone.

“She’s been getting up moving around walking, dancing, and singing, just in really good spirits, but her mental capacity isn’t fully restored yet,” said Tamika.  In other words, she’s not in a position yet physically or emotionally to be told the heartbreaking news.

In a time when people can’t be with family during their final moments, Tamika and Doyle pray for their mom and hope to soon celebrate their late father’s life.

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Meteorologist Justin Roth weather forecasts can be seen weekend evenings on ABC 36 at 6:30 PM at 11 PM. Justin will also forecast the weather at 10 PM (MyKY 36.2) three days a week. Justin comes to WTVQ from the NBC affiliate in Casper, WY and interned in Knoxville, TN all where he gained the understandings of forecasting mountainous terrains and rapidly changing environments. His forecasts are for YOUR day and making YOUR life just a bit easier. Justin was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Western Illinois University with Minors in Broadcasting and Mathematics. His interest in weather began at a young age when his parents gave him a book, ‘First Field Guide To Weather’ for his Birthday, ever since then weather has been a passion of his from forecasting to chasing tornadoes. When not forecasting the weather, Justin enjoys exploring new places and anything outdoors. He’s a self-proclaimed history buff and loves rooting for favorite sport teams, The St. Louis Cardinals and Blues. Please feel free to share any outdoor picture you’d like to share with him send them his way at And be sure to follow him: Twitter - @JustinRothWx Instagram - @JustinRothWx