After losing grandfather to COVID-19, Missouri man finds special, rare piece of furniture

Mid-South

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — A Kansas City, Missouri man is mourning the loss of his grandfather who died of COVID-19. But in the midst of that grief, an unexpected family heirloom has been uncovered.

Down the aisles of a thrift store, you never know what you’ll uncover. Jacob Stotler considers himself a thrifting addict, a trait inherited from his grandpa.

“He was a thrifter, thought everything had a purpose,” Stotler said.

On Saturday, Stotler lost his “Papa Howard. At age 86, Howard got COVID-19 in a southwest Missouri nursing home. The facility had recently started allowing window visits. A patient’s family member with coronavirus apparently passed it inside, ultimately infecting 29 and killing four.

“My dad was very against the virus and thought it was a hoax. He actually just made a post on Facebook the day my Papa passed away about how his mind has now changed and opened up,” Stotler said.

Stotler is spending time away from home in Kansas City, with family in Salem, Missouri, planning his Papa’s final farewell.

“We were sitting going through old pictures with my grandma and she goes, ‘Oh look, it’s your Papa holding your dad. It was January 1975,’” he said.

She reflected on how that sofa was her all-time favorite piece of furniture and was sad they couldn’t bring it along, when moving from Arizona to Missouri. When Stotler looked at the photo, he had to do a double take.

“I love mid-century modern furniture. It’s my absolute favorite, and we’d been talking about getting new couch for the house. My partner had some different ideas, and I walked up to this couch so bad — I’ll pay for it,” Stotler said.

The gold velvet couch with arched back and stitched cushions has been in his living room ever since. It is identical to the one his grandparents parted ways with 45 years ago.

“Having that couch kind of is a bit of closure for not getting to say goodbye. I don’t ever really have to say goodbye. I’ve got that right there,” Stotler said.

He shared the story on the “Weird Second-Hand Finds” Facebook page, and it’s been viewed and shared thousands of times. Collectors believe it’s a custom piece and could be one-of-a-kind.  

“There’s a good chance it might be the same exact couch. So it’s fantastic,” Stotler said.

This holiday season, he’s thankful for this special treasure to keep his grandpa close at heart in his home. And he’s asking everyone to be safe with COVID-19 to avoid the heartache his family now feels.

“It’s a shocking reality to lose someone and say this is really real, and it’s not going to go away until we get really serious about it,” Stotler said.

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