Florence artist Jan Roblin dies of coronavirus

Jan Roblin was an artist, a mother, a grandmother, and someone who will be missed, said her family.

Posted: Jul 2, 2020 7:35 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2020 4:36 PM

WAAY 31 spoke with a family in Florence who lost their mom to coronavirus last week.

Family members confirm Jan Roblin, 77, was one of the 39 residents and employees at Florence Nursing and Rehabilitation Center who got the virus.

Jan Roblin, at right. (Photo courtesy of the family)

She's now one of four from the same nursing home who has died of the virus.

As heartbroken as Roblin's family is, her son, Benji Wilson, wants people to know about his mom. She was an artist, a grandmother and so much more.

"She was known by my youngest daughter Isabella as Abunanny, and she wore that badge proudly," said Wilson. "My mom was beautiful. I was so proud of her all the time. Her beauty wasn't just skin deep, it was throughout."

Wilson gave WAAY 31 videos of his family visiting his mom A toddler runs down a long hallway with squeals of excitement. Knocking on a door and Jan happily opens it and wraps the child up, giving her a big kiss. Those moments are the one's Benji Wilson said he will never forget.

Wilson said his mom painted people mostly. Her works of Helen Keller and W.C. Handy are the most recognizable. Wilson said besides being a mother, grandmother, and artist, one of her favorite titles was art teacher.

Roblin would hold local art camps in Florence every summer. Right up to the time she passed she was still getting postcards from former students.

"I'm sure even now she will get postcards and letters from people saying 'Mrs. Jan I just want you to know how much I appreciate the love of art you helped me understand,'" said Wilson.

Roblin was already in the Florence Nursing and Rehab Center off of Cloyd Boulevard when the pandemic hit North Alabama. In June she got a fever then a positive coronavirus test. Roblin was then taken to the hospital in Florence.

"She wasn't ready to leave and I wasn't ready to lose her," said Wilson.

Wilson couldn't be in the hospital with his mom because the virus is so contagious. On June 24, a nurse at the hospital put the phone next to Roblin's ear so she could hear her son one last time.

"I said mom I'm proud of you. I love you. You have fought this virus and you are so strong but just relax and just know that I love you more than anything and you're the best mom and I'll see you soon.

"She died an hour and a half later. The nurse was so nice. She called me back to let me know I didn't let your mom die alone," said Wilson.

Wilson said that nurse held his mom's hand for 25 minutes.

He's building a bridge over a peaceful creek to honor his mom and plans to put her art in a more permanent place so people can enjoy it, and so that her legacy won't just be another coronavirus statistic.

WAAY 31 reached out to Florence Nursing and Rehab several times on Wednesday and Thursday. Officials have not responded to any of our questions or returned any calls.

Previously the nursing home confirmed with WAAY 31 on June 10 that it had two coronavirus cases. On June 23, after calling and emailing officials for more than a week, the nursing home said its cases jumped from two to 39. Nineteen residents had the virus and 20 employees. The nursing home also confirmed on June 23 that three residents had passed away from the virus.

Roblin's death now brings the total to four, but the nursing home won't confirm that. WAAY 31 has also asked the nursing home several times about its protocols and how it's handling the virus all they would confirm is that they are following CDC and public health guidelines.

Officials did say on June 23 that five of the 19 residents that tested positive had recovered and that others were improving.

But now they won't give an update on cases or how residents and employees are doing.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 98°
Florence
Scattered Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 98°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 100°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 89°
Scottsboro
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 105°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 124915

Reported Deaths: 1271
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23625314
Davidson20865219
Rutherford662955
Hamilton631555
Knox475040
Williamson360725
Sumner347373
Unassigned31173
Out of TN295216
Wilson233923
Bradley199115
Montgomery198614
Sevier19029
Putnam180018
Trousdale15836
Robertson157820
Hamblen142016
Blount132412
Washington12912
Maury12847
Tipton121710
Madison118920
Sullivan104815
Hardeman94218
Bedford93011
Macon86713
Lake7940
Loudon7543
Gibson7357
Bledsoe7162
Dickson7052
Fayette7048
Anderson6986
Dyer6688
Henderson6133
Cheatham6018
Obion5884
Jefferson5874
Lawrence5847
McMinn55920
Coffee5583
Rhea5442
Warren5404
Carter5326
Lauderdale5229
Haywood5107
Greene5049
Roane4882
Hawkins4859
Cocke4824
Weakley4824
Hardin4798
Cumberland4636
Smith4584
Monroe4519
McNairy3886
Giles38713
DeKalb3662
Franklin3384
Carroll3303
Lincoln3151
Marshall3054
Henry2990
White2945
Johnson2880
Claiborne2770
Crockett2745
Hickman2720
Campbell2541
Wayne2292
Marion2285
Chester2252
Decatur2153
Polk2133
Overton2091
Grainger2040
Unicoi1680
Union1620
Benton1581
Cannon1540
Jackson1301
Humphreys1293
Morgan1271
Scott1241
Grundy1182
Sequatchie1131
Meigs1080
Fentress960
Hancock812
Perry810
Stewart790
Clay790
Lewis741
Houston610
Moore600
Pickett391
Van Buren360

Community Events