Thousands of Hoosiers have died since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020 and we know — they're more than just numbers. If you've lost a loved one to COVID-19 and want to share their story reach out to us at FacesOfCovid@wrtv.com.
COLUMBUS, IN — It has been one year since the first recorded COVID-19 death in Indiana. Through WRTV’s Faces of COVID, stories of memories are shared about Hoosiers who have lost their lives to the virus.
One of the thousands of Hoosiers we said goodbye to in the last year, spent most of his adult days alongside others during their final breaths, guiding them in prayer and in peace as they passed.
Rev. Glenn Poynter’s voice was as strong as the legacy he leaves behind; a man who never met a stranger and lived a full life as a family man and a man of God.
He settled down and planted his roots in Columbus, Indiana, but Glenn was raised in Kentucky where he became a pastor, a husband, and a dad.
“More than anything, dad's family and his ministry of serving God were his priorities,” says Dave Poynter, Glenn’s son. “When things were at their worst, he was the one who had his hand on your shoulder and saying this was going to be okay. Dad was always that guiding force, one that you knew was always going to be there.”
No longer physically here, the lessons he taught by example, live on through his children: two daughters who work in medicine. One is a nurse and one works in medical coding. His son, Dave, now an Indiana State Trooper, uses the lessons from his father as the foundation of the life he leads now.
“He had a huge influence on us kids and he set a good example and he taught us to be responsible,” explains Dave. “And no one owes us anything just because we walk on earth. Work for it, earn it.”
The people who crossed Glenn’s path, family or friends, were his world.
“He was like a second father to me,” explains Stacey Poynter, Glenn’s nephew. “Always there as David said, always there smiling, laughing and picking and cutting up on you. Just a great guy, he was always there. And you know, sometimes you take that for granted as a family to know you have that support there. Just a wonderful man.”
Glenn created a beautiful life from nothing. At 17 years old, Glenn married Betty, the love of his life. From humble beginnings, together they built an abundant life full of family, faith and love.
“My dad wouldn't be the man he was without my mom,” says Dave. “There is no doubt about that, mom was, mom was his anchor, and that is just how it was. Very loving people.”
Betty, who married him when she was only 14, loved Glenn so very much, he was her everything.
“My mom, said she wouldn't talk,” explains Dave. “But the one thing she said, just make sure you tell them how much I loved him.”
Throughout his adulthood, Glenn’s purpose was ministry. To lead with faith and share a message of God. Glenn gave peace to many people in their final hours.
“My dad was very well known in a lot of hospitals because that is what he did, that was his joy in life was his family and he just felt a call to serve God and it was very important to him and that is what he focused it around,” says Dave.
In August of 2020, after testing positive for COVID-19 and spending a short time in the hospital, Glenn passed away just two days before his 74th birthday.
This story, a tribute to a man who knew what he loved and stuck with it.
“Dad loved the news, he watched it all the time. He ate up with it,” remembers Dave. “Every time I'd call, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Oh, I am home holding down my chair.’ ‘Oh are you watching some tv? Yea well you are watching the news.’ So yea he loved the news. So he would have never dreamed there would be any news on him, because he would have told you that I am just a little simple fat boy, is exactly what he said, I am a little simple fat preacher from Kentucky. And that was my dad. That was him.”
A man with a heart of gold, who cherished everyone he met.
“He was a people person,” says Dave. “He liked to smile and he liked to see other people smile and that was what was important to him.”
Rev. Glenn’s legacy lives on in the memories of those he loved and shared his life with. Through faith, his family has the peace of mind that they will all be together again one day.
“I was privileged to have a lot more time with my father than a lot of people did,” says Dave. “I try to remember what my dad has told me. One of our conversations when I was in the hospital he told me that when... when I told him I know dad this is scary, he said no, son I am not afraid to die. I know I will be better. And that is what carries my mom. That is what carries her. She will tell you one day, she will see him again and that is what keeps her going.”
Glenn’s family was not able to be in the hospital with him while he worked to recover from COVID. But, they were able to be with him in his final moments to say goodbye.
Dave says his father did have a heart condition. He urges others to take care of themselves and understand their risks by doing a yearly physical.