Stacey Nagy David Nagy (right) with one of his grandsons
Stacey Nagy says husband David Nagy's death from the coronavirus disease COVID-19 was preventable and that leading lawmakers like President Donald Trump are to blame for trying to "politicize" the pandemic.
“The whole thing is just so needless," Stacey, 72, tells PEOPLE. “It’s difficult listening to the B.S. that Trump says, watching Trump ignore the whole thing and minimize it from the beginning and do nothing about it. It’s because of his attitude that this whole coronavirus thing turned into a political thing."
Stacey says David died at 79 on July 22 — alone in a Texas intensive-care unit, with his wife and three of his five kids watching from behind a glass wall.
“He was the love of my life for crying out loud,” she says. “I was pissed."
Stacey turned her anger into words, writing her husband's obituary on July 30 for their local paper in Jefferson, Texas.
The Jefferson Jimplecute obit — which bluntly blamed Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott "and all the politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously" — soon went viral.
“Family members believe David’s death was needless,” Stacey wrote, initially believing her message might only reach a few people in Jefferson. “They blame his death and the deaths of all the other innocent people, on Trump, Abbott and all the politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously and were more concerned with their popularity and votes than lives."
Stacey points to the polarization over public health recommendations about wearing masks, which the president has taken contradictory stances on despite his own experts and various studies supporting the practice.
At least 157,00 people had died from the virus in the U.S. as of Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker.
In July, Fiana Tulip similarly wrote to Gov. Abbott in an Austin American-Statesman op-ed about her mother, 64-year-old Isabelle Odette Papadimitriou, who died from COVID-19 on July 4.
Tulip invited the governor to her mother's funeral and told PEOPLE last month she was "calling on Gov. Abbott to do his job."
"My mother’s loss is enormous," Tulip said then. "And I know in my heart that it was preventable."
Stacey believes David — an Army veteran from Northern California — didn't need to die either.
Courtesy Stacey Nagy From left: Stacey and David Nagy
David's final days "were like a nightmare," his wife says, but she manages to laugh as she fondly remembers the life they shared before he fell ill in July.
“He was a real good person," she says. "He loved his family dearly and he showed love. He also had a strong personality. He could be bossy at times — you know, a typical man — but I loved him dearly.”
The couple met in 1999 in Nevada City, California, and “it was like love at first sight,” Stacey says.
The two were married just three weeks later and stayed together for 20 years, retiring in Texas.
But David's health began deteriorating in March: He had a series of falls, and Stacey decided to put him in a nursing home. There, he could be monitored for his "bad heart," as well as high blood pressure and diabetes, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can put people at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
“I thought that he was safe where he was," Stacey says now. "I kept telling him, ‘No Dave, you have to stay where you are because you’re safe there. You can’t afford to get this disease.’ "
Stacey visited David routinely, despite social distancing forcing a barrier between them.
“We would try to holler through the thick glass window back and forth and we would put our hands up to the window to each other and when I would leave, we would kiss the window to each other," she says. "I would bring him treats occasionally, bring him his Diet Cokes and things like that.”
Drew Angerer/Getty Images President Donald Trump looks at a map of coronavirus cases in the United States during a July COVID-19 briefing at the White House.
David tested negative for the virus in June, but he began to feel sick in early July. He tested positive when he took another test, as did at least 16 other patients and staff members at the nursing home, Stacey says.
He was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in nearby Marshall, but "he just started going downhill.”
Stacey says doctors gave her husband remdesivir, plasma, steroids, placed him on a CPAP machine “on full blast” and eventually needed to put him on a respirator.
As nurses warned that David's condition was worsening, Stacey called his five kids. Three were able to make it in time to see him before his death.
A nurse cracked open the glass door to David's room open "about an inch" for Stacey to deliver a final message.
“I tried talking loudly, hoping he could hear me," she says. "I was crying and telling him to fight, that we needed him, that his dog Bobby misses him.”
In the wake of David's death, Stacey's grief quickly turned to anger and she wrote his obit after continuing to see people around Jefferson not wearing masks at stores.
She blasted the “ignorant, self centered and selfish people” who weren't taking precautions, and she pointed to lawmakers for not setting an example and enforcing health experts' guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks.
Specifically, she named Abbott and Trump.
"I wanted these people to know who was to blame for my husband’s death," Stacey says. "I was very angry about it.”
After the obituary gained traction online, Stacey reposted it on Facebook, drawing hundreds of comments from strangers on her page. Most offered condolences and support, but some pushed back.
“It really hurt my feelings, and it got me mad," she says. "How dare they say that my husband didn’t die?"
David was loving and very private, Stacey says. “He’d probably be a little embarrassed, but I also think he’d be proud of me for not letting this go.”
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