Cofounder of Sacramento Black Panther Party dies from COVID-19, widow shares his story

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A beloved Sacramento civil rights activist died from COVID-19 in April.

The widow of Charles Brunson, who co-founded Sacramento’s chapter of the Black Panther Party, shared her story of love and loss with FOX40 Sunday.

Margo Rose-Brunson’s house no longer feels like home with the love of her life gone.

“I expected him to come around the corner and say something silly,” said Rose-Brunson. “I thought I was going to be able to come home with my husband and I didn’t.”

She and her 76-year-old husband, Charles Brunson, were hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center with COVID-19 in April.

She recovered. He didn’t.

“You’re fighting something you can’t see,” recalled Rose-Brunson. “It’s mean. It’s ugly. I couldn’t taste. I couldn’t smell.”

She knows that he fought until the end, after all, he spent his whole life fighting for equality.

“My husband’s personality was outgoing. He never let anything go by unless he was able to help deal with it,” explained Rose-Brunson.

The large impact he made on his community was on clear display as dozens of cards and condolences flood in.

“It just shows me that they loved him,” said Rose-Brunson. “They write letters.”

She finds comfort in the kind words and memories and grateful that she got to say goodbye, visiting his hospital bed in a hazmat suit before he died.

“We washed his face and we talked to him. But he was already gone. They did everything they could do for my husband to help him. I praise them for that,” said Rose-Brunson.

She prays her neighbors will heed the warnings and stay safe.

“People should stop playing with it. People come up to me and don’t have a mask on. I don’t have no love for you,” said Rose-Brunson.

She hopes no other family has to return home without the person they loved most.

“I know he’s here in spirit and I know that everything I do from here on is because he wants me to,” said Rose-Brunson.

Rose-Brunson told FOX40 they were able to host a brief funeral for her husband, with all the mourners staying in their cars.

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