COVID exacts dreadful toll on kin of late county commissioner

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Dan Aaronson battled coronavirus after his mother died from the disease. Submitted photo.

Virus takes life of Burt Aaronson’s widow; infects his son

By: Dale King
Contributing Writer

In a world racked with chaos, political unrest, violent protests disguised as efforts to improve the human condition and the horrific, often deadly affliction of the COVID-19 virus, it is difficult to find a safe and quiet space.

Sheila Aaronson, widow of Burt Aaronson, her husband of nearly 70 years who served two decades on the Palm Beach County Commission from 1992 to 2012, has spent the years since his passing in 2018 socializing with friends at Gleneagles Country Club in West Delray, where the couple spent many years of their lives together.

But her time spent mingling, visiting and playing cards with friends would be brief, cut short by an unfortunate accident that opened the otherwise healthy woman of age 93 to the dangers of coronavirus.

Not only did complications of the disease take her life after her brief stay at Delray Medical Center in June for treatment of a broken leg, the illness that has thrown a pandemic gauntlet around Planet Earth has also infected her younger son, Daniel, a criminal defense lawyer with offices in Fort Lauderdale.

By late July, Daniel Aaronson was still recovering at home.

Hospitalized for 15 days around the time his mother was afflicted with COVID-19, Daniel said he learned of his mother’s passing by means of a telephone call to his hospital room. He said he was sorry he could appropriately say goodbye to her.

Since her passing and his ongoing recovery, Daniel said everyone else in the family has been checked and all have tested negative.

He said he is spending “18 to 20 hours alone in a back room of my home. My wife has to deliver food to my room.”

He still has to undergo frequent tests “and I continue to test positive.”

Assessing the ailment that has spread throughout the world, Daniel noted: “I am on the road to recovery. But the virus is a very bad thing.” He said the disease makes it difficult to even walk from room to room.

Sheila Aaronson came in contact with COVID-19 after she injured herself at her home. “I took one of my sons to visit her. It was either May 31 or June 1.”

“While she was on her way to the door, she fell and broke a bone in her leg.” She was taken to Delray Medical Center where she was treated for several days and released.

“When she came home, she had an aide assigned to work with her,” said Daniel. “We were searching for a place where she could get rehabilitation without coming in contact with coronavirus.”

Ironically, even within a matter of days, it was too late to stem the illness. “My mother started to feel sick.” She returned to the hospital where she tested positive for coronavirus.” Mrs. Aaronson passed away on June 15.

Her burial was private because of the COVID-19 virus presence. According to her obituary, anyone wishing to honor Sheila Aaronson should make a memorial contribution to the charity of their choice.

In addition to her son, Daniel, she is survived by another son, Richard; grandchildren Scott, Glen, Eric, Brandon and Cameron and great grandchildren Samantha, Maisie and Lincoln. She also leaves a brother Morty Goetz.

Daniel recalled that his mother and dad were together practically all the time as he served his constituency in District 5 – West Boca, West Delray and West Boynton Beach. Friends and political colleagues said she helped keep him grounded, and he often turned to her for advice.

Burt Aaronson was an executive in the furniture business in New Jersey before the family moved to Florida in 1986.

“She was always at his side, but she didn’t take a back seat to him,” recalled Daniel. “They had the truest partnership. It was a partnership of ideas. She was able to influence him.”

“My mother was a warm as a human being can be. She loved and protected my brother and me.”

“She loved every type of card game,” said Daniel. “Even as she got older, she played canasta three times a week. At age 93, she was still having political discussions; she was still sharp and knew her history. The bulb never dimmed.”