For the last few months, Fred Hamic got up each morning and cooked breakfast for his 6-year-old granddaughter Scarlet.
If she wasn’t awake, he would wake her.
“He loved that grandbaby, so he was getting up and waking her up and making her a big breakfast every morning,” said Hamic’s daughter Brandie Hamic-Savage of Panama City. “That was his joy.”
Fred Hamic, 75, died Wednesday from COVID-19. He had been hospitalized at Wiregrass Medical Center in Geneva for two nights before he passed on the third night. Hamic, who lived in Samson, spent two decades serving the people of Geneva County – first as a county commissioner and then as the probate judge and county commission chairman. He left office in 2018.
Hamic-Savage said her father was proud of the work he did for Geneva County.
“I want people to take it extremely serious,” Hamic-Savage said of the coronavirus. “We did take it extremely serious and still was exposed and lost a very important life in our family.”
Hamic is survived by three daughters: Brandie, Alyce Hamic Chestnut and Edie Hamic Hand; and one son, Frederick “Ric” Charles Hamic Jr. It was daughter Edie Hand, her husband Dustin and daughter Scarlet who moved in with Hamic a few months ago. The move was to help with the loneliness Hamic had experienced following the death of his wife, Barbara, in 2019. The two had been married for nearly 53 years.
“The day Mother passed, Daddy looked 20 years older than he did the day before,” Brandie said. “You could physically see it; it was just that quick. It took everything from him, and we knew he would never get over it. We tried, he tried – for us, he tried.”
Having family around helped, Hamic-Savage said. Edie was able to be with their father when he passed.
During the pandemic, Hamic limited his trips away from the house to the cemetery twice a day, the supermarket and to see his doctor once a month. He always wore a mask and kept hand sanitizer with him. The family did temperature checks when they got together for the holidays.
A few days after Christmas, Fred Hamic developed a sniffle. Hamic had been dealing with a dry cough for more than a year, so even with the added sniffles nobody thought about it being COVID-19. He had no fever and none of the other common symptoms reported with the illness.
When his breathing became shallower, and the family decided he needed to go to the hospital. A test there showed he had COVID-19.
“You can do all the right things and people are still getting it,” Hamic-Savage said.
While she wants people to be cautious, Hamic-Savage said it’s also important to spend time with your family while you can.
“You don’t want to say, ‘I didn’t go see my father because of COVID and then he passed from something else,’” Hamic-Savage said. “No matter how old you are, you could get hit by a truck tomorrow. We still need these people in our lives. We don’t need our elderly family members to become so depressed because they don’t see us … You can still social distance and wear your mask inside your home with these people as well. We can’t let COVID rule our lives, but we do have to be careful.”