‘He Had Been My Guiding Light’: Family Emotional After Denver Man’s Coronavirus Death

DENVER (CBS4)– Family and friends describe Mike Farley, 87, a Denver attorney, as “one of the good ones,” a man of compassion, integrity and humor. He died Monday of COVID-19 at Swedish Medical Center.

Mike Farley

Mike Farley (credit: CBS)

His daughter, Maggie Farley, said in his final days, her father said that,”He felt his life was complete, but I’m not ready to hand it over yet, and that was heartbreaking.”

Farley had become ill about two weeks ago, according to family members, experiencing a low grade fever but by late last week, he couldn’t stop coughing.

He was admitted to Swedish Medical Center on Thursday. He was dead by Monday.

His wife of 59 years, Nancy, said “in the last days, he never complained.”

Farley was a well-known Denver lawyer who was deeply compassionate towards the homeless and the less fortunate. His family says he had been President of the Denver Foundation and worked with the Archdiocesan Housing Committee for more than 30 years,  accomplishments he was most proud of.

(credit: CBS)

His son-in-law, Marcus Brauchli, described Farley as “a man of intelligence, sharp witted humor, forebearance, wisdom and infinite compassion.”

Brauchli said Farley would help others instantly.

His daughter, Maggie, told CBS4, “He always tried to do the right thing and did a lot of good things for a lot of people.”

After getting him to the hospital Thursday, his family was never able to touch or comfort him again as he was placed in isolation due to the contagious virus. Nurses showed Farley how to FaceTime with his family, which he did in his final days.

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His daughter said, ”I just told him he had been my guiding light, I’ll hear him and feel him in my heart. I was so lucky to have had him as a father.”

Unsure how he contracted the virus, his daughter is wracked with concern.

Mike Farley

Mike Farley (credit: CBS)

In their last conversation, she told her father, ”If there was a chance I brought this to him, please forgive me.”

She said nurses at Swedish showed Farley the same compassion he showed others during his life, showing him how to use a phone to see family members. The night before he passed, Farley FaceTimed with his family.

“I just told him I loved him and thanked him for a wonderful life together,” said his wife. “And he really wanted to hear everyone’s voice and he heard his grandchildren and that was really important.”

As a Chaplain administered last rites, Farley’s family listened by phone.

“They were able to afford him dignity,” said Maggie Farley, ”and he died with grace like he lived his life.”

Now, Farley’s wife and daughter hope his death makes people realize they need to practice social distancing, stay home, and follow the directives they receive from medical authorities.

“I think we need to listen to health officials, keep our distance, stay at home and minimize contact,” said his daughter, ”and not listen to politicians who might have different motives.”

His wife said, ”We just can’t put people in jeopardy. We have to stay home and follow the rules.”

Maggie Farley expressed concern that the care her father received in his final days, may soon not be available to other patients.

”So many people are getting sick, they’re not going to have the time or capacity and may not have ventilators or beds. If people can think of the consequences. Its real, it does happen. Maybe we can do our small part.”