MILWAUKEE -- Whether shoveling or snowblowing, seniors or even folks with health issues need to be mindful of the stresses the snow and cold can cause on the body. Four men in our area, ages ranging from 64 to 78, passed away while clearing snow on Monday, March 13th.
The medical examiner on Monday afternoon announced the death of a 64-year-old man who collapsed while shoveling snow on Park Avenue in South Milwaukee. He was pronounced dead shortly before 11:00 a.m. Officials have identified him as Edward Madson of South Milwaukee.
A 76-year-old man, identified as William Kopydlowski of Milwaukee, collapsed while snowblowing on Milwaukee’s south side. He was pronounced dead around 2:30 p.m.
On Monday evening, the medical examiner was called to a third death related to snow removal. A 68-year-old man, identified as John Rosemeyer of Milwaukee, collapsed while shoveling snow near South Layton and Mitchell. He was pronounced dead at 5:46 p.m.
A fourth man, identified as Gartha Lowery of Milwaukee, was pronounced dead at 5:44 p.m. on the north side of Milwaukee. The 78-year-old man was found unresponsive in his vehicle after shoveling snow earlier in the day. Officials say Lowery had a history of heart disease and he had open heart surgery in the past.
"I was somewhat in shock," said Alex Kopydlowski, William Kopydlowski's brother.
As Alex Kopydlowski mourns the death of his brother, William's neighbors were also emotional on Tuesday.
"Kind of traumatized," said Michele Boyd, neighbor. "It's hard for us. He was a nice neighbor to everybody. He's going to be missed and he was loved."
Michele Boyd reflected on their friendship, and said he feels a sense of guilt.
"I feel terrible. I wish I could have noticed more," said Boyd.
Boyd found the 76-year-old laying outside on Monday.
"We went running out there and we turned him over and he was already gone," said Boyd.
William Kopydlowski spent Monday morning making several passes trying to remove heavy, wet snow.
"If you are getting to be a certain age, you have a little trouble with your heart -- don't attempt it," said Alex Kopydlowski.
"We need to be more observant. We need to get out and do more. We need to be better neighbors," said Boyd.
While Boyd said the tragedy has sparked more checks and balances with seniors in the community, there is a program that they can also take advantage of.
"It's imperative to be able to help seniors who are on their own or living alone," said Sarah Moriarty with the Washington Park Senior Center.
Moriarty says you can turn to the Washington Park Senior Center for help.
"Interfaith does offer services to do minor household repairs, shovel, snow removal and maintenance and that sort of thing," Moriarty said.
Volunteers provide a helping hand when winter storms strike.
"There is always something you can do to make a difference in the community," said Moriarty.