By Tia Lynn Ivey
A 53-year-old Madison man, Tony Lewis Atwater, has died of COVID-19. Before his death, Atwater spent the last two weeks of his life hours away from his family and loved ones in a South Carolina hospital. When Atwater was first hospitalized with the coronavirus on Aug. 6, there was a temporary shortage of ICU beds across Georgia. Morgan Medical Center was unable to secure him a bed in Athens or Augusta hospitals, or anywhere else in Georgia, according to the Atwater family.
Atwater’s wife, Felicia, was told he either had to be treated in Columbia, South Carolina or somewhere in Florida.
“I couldn’t believe he had to go all the way to South Carolina,” said Felicia Atwater. “But even if he was close to home, we still couldn’t be with him because he had COVID…But when you are sick like this, you don’t want to be alone. You don’t want to just hear the voices of your family, you want to them there with you.”
In the early hours of Aug. 6, Tony Atwater was transferred to a South Carolina hospital via ambulance more than three hours away from his home in Madison. He died on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Atwater’s wife described him as humble and friendly, beloved by all who crossed his path.
“Tony is a kind, humble spirit,” said Felicia Atwater, before her husband of 10 years passed away.
“He is not a stranger to anybody. Everybody knows and loves Tony. If they meet him, they love him.”
According to Tony Atwater’s obituary, he was born in Madison in 1967. As a lifelong Madison resident, we was educated in the Morgan County Public School system.
He was the youngest of four children. His father was the late Moses Atwater Sr. and his mother is Anne Bell Robbins Atwater. He grew up attending Barrow Grove Baptist Church before eventually joining Mt. Vernon Baptist Church where Tony became a deacon.
According to his obituary, “He met and married the late Tawana L. Cooper and was blessed with two daughters, Tyra and Taylor, and a son, Tony Terrell Atwater. On September 12, 2009, he married Felicia Randolph…Tony was employed by numerous employers over the years in manufacturing and truck driving. He was employed with Walton EMC until his health started to decline.”
The Atwater family mourned the loss of Tony on Aug. 24 with a graveside service at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Bostwick. Reverend Lonnie C. Brown and Reverend Robert Terrell Sr. delivered eulogies.
According to his obituary, “On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Tony was called from labor to rest. He leaves to cherish his memories: his wife of 10 years, Felicia Atwater; children, Tony (Ashley) Atwater of Covington, and Tyra and Taylor Atwater, both of Bostwick; brothers, Moses (Sandra) Atwater, Jr., of Savannah, Tim (Jackie) Atwater of Monroe, and Steven (Crystal) Atwater of Dubai, UAE;three grandchildren, Tony Terrell Atwater, Jr., Trenton Atwater, and Trinity Atwater; and a host of loving nieces, nephews, aunts,uncles, and cousins.”