Memphis artist dies after contracting COVID-19, family says

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis artist has died from complications of COVID-19, his family said.

Dan Spector, a Cooper-Young resident and longtime owner of Archicast studio on Broad, died Tuesday, his sister Rachel Spector Peak announced. An online funeral service was held Wednesday morning.

Family said Spector was on a ventilator after being diagnosed with the illness just days ago.

“He sounded horrible,” his sister Rachel Spector Peak said. “The cough was nothing I’d ever heard before, and the breathing was so bad.”

Dan Spector

Spector’s last post on Facebook, sent just before noon on March 25, read, “Don’t know if I can send.. I checked into Methodist Central and getting tested for whatever I got.”

Spector’s diagnosis has not officially been confirmed. Shelby County health officials list three deaths from COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Spector would be the fourth.

His family hopes his story can serve as a warning for residents who don’t understand how dangerous the virus can be.

“Stay in,” Spector Peak said. “Do as you’re told to do. I don’t know what else to say. It’s there. It got my brother.”

Spector specialized in creating cast reproductions of architectural details and sculptures. He also volunteered with Memphis In May, Cooper-Young Community Association, Memphis Heritage and other organizations.

“He helped allow some major historic buildings to be restored with his talent for casting ornamental pieces,” said Judith Johnson, former executive director of Memphis Heritage.

“When this happens to someone you know, it puts this whole new reality into perspective,” said Carl Moore, a friend of Spector and WREG graphic artist.

“Dan was a fixture in the Art Community. He went to most of the art shows in the city and everyone knew him. He attended most of my opening receptions and always gave me his honest opinion. He will truly be missed in the Memphis Art Scene by his long time friends and fellow artists,” Moore said.

As the Spector family continues to grieve, they want residents to make specific plans for the coronavirus. Know where you can get tested, where you can be treated and even plans for the worst case scenario.

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