TAKOMA PARK, Md. — The Takoma Park community is coping with the passing of one of their own -- a beloved mother of four, who died of coronavirus complications.
Wogene Debele died just three weeks after giving birth to her fourth child. According to her family and friends, Debele contracted the coronavirus toward the end of her pregnancy.
Debele and her family were well known throughout the community. Some of her children were on the Takoma Park Youth Council and participated in local sports leagues.
Her husband, Yilma Tadesse, said Debele was a woman with a "pure heart."
"She loved people and she always put the needs of others before hers," he said in a statement. "She dedicated her life to helping those around her and hoped to be a mother figure for those around. I'm very heartbroken knowing that she never got to meet the baby or about the fact that none of us had the chance to say goodbye. What gives us peace in this time is knowing that she is in a better place."
A GoFundMe page set up to support her family has raised $170,000 in two days.
Takoma Park resident Tebabu Assefa met Debele last June after setting up an opportunity for her daughter to recite a poem during a town hall for Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin. Assefa said Debele loved her children.
"Wogene was so proud of her daughter and she was so grateful for that little thing that I did," he said.
Assefa added Debele was "motherly" in every sense of the word.
"Everything in her life depended on the lives of the children," he said.
Takoma Park resident Anne Snouck-Hurgronje said her son is very good friends with one of Debele’s sons. She called Debele a spectacular mother.
"Everybody who's heard the story feels connected to her even if they didn't know her," she said.
Snouck-Hurgronje said her heart goes out to the rest of the family.
"It's going to be hard for Yilma to raise four children on his own," she said.