Hardin family loses both parents from complications of COVID-19

Ruben Sr. and Anita Lozano of Hardin were married for 53 years. Both died within 12 days of each other from COVID-19 complications.

A Hardin family is grieving the loss of its patriarch and matriarch after they died from COVID-19 complications. Anita Lozano, 69, died on the morning of July 21, just hours after receiving confirmation for a COVID-19 test she had taken two weeks earlier.

Twelve days later, Ruben Lozano Sr., her husband of 53 years, also 69, died while under medical care at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

The Lozanos’ oldest son, Ruben Jr., said that both had underlying health issues that weakened their immune systems and made it harder for them to fight back against the novel coronavirus. The couple was taking precautions, such as wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, but somehow contracted the illness.

Anita first became ill on July 11. She told Ruben Jr., a Houston firefighter, that she was going to a hospital in Baytown to be checked. Four hours later, Anita told her children that she had taken a COVID-19 test but was awaiting results. The doctors reportedly suspected that she had bacterial pneumonia, so she was sent home with instructions on treating that illness and told to self-isolate.

“Over the next 5-6 days, my dad started feeling ill. He was having abdominal issues – diarrhea, runny nose and fever. Because there were so many Houston firefighters under quarantine, I wasn’t able to get off work because I had no relief staff, so I asked my brother to check on them,” Ruben Jr. said.

Anita was short of breath, which could have been attributed to COVID-19 or bacterial pneumonia. She needed help walking from her bedroom to the bathroom – a span of 15 feet – and was not eating or drinking as much as usual.

Family members continued to check on the couple’s welfare on a daily basis. On July 21, Ruben Jr. stopped by to find his mother lying dead on the living room floor. His father’s condition had worsened, requiring him to be transported to Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center, where he was stabilized and then transferred to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

“On the morning that my mom died, she got a text saying that her test results confirmed she had COVID-19,” Ruben Jr. said.

Ruben Sr.’s medical condition continued to worsen in the following days. Sometime during the night on Aug. 2, he knocked off his oxygen mask, causing his SAT levels to drop dangerously low. Once back on oxygen, his SAT levels rose to 92 percent.

Four hours later, Ruben Jr. was called by another doctor to ask about comfort care, which is used in the last stages of life. The doctor told him that his father’s condition was grave and comfort care was the best they had to offer him.

Not willing to accept the doctor’s opinion without his own verification, Ruben Jr. asked to see his dad, a request that was at first denied. Ruben Jr., his sister and his brother traveled to the hospital and looked through a glass window to see with their own eyes that their father was struggling to live. They approved the doctor’s request for comfort care. Not long after, Ruben Sr. died.

The Lozanos were the head of a well-respected family in Hardin. Ruben Sr. was a retired construction work. Anita was on disability. They met on a blind date through mutual friends. Anita and her girlfriend agreed to go out on a date with Ruben Sr. and his friend. Both couples hit it off, were married and remained friends throughout their lives.

Anita was known among her friends and family for her thoughtful and considerate nature. A naturally wise person, she gave good advice. Ruben Sr. was a jokester, always making people laugh.

The reality of their parents’ loss hasn’t quite set in for the Lozano children. Ruben Jr. says his parents were the glue that keep the family close. The Lozanos lived for their family members, particularly their grandchildren.

“But as much as they loved their grandchildren, the greatest bond was the life they shared with each other. They couldn’t have lived without each other. My mom was the light of my dad’s life. Losing her, and being apart from his family while he was in the hospital, took away his will to live,” Ruben Jr. said.

Reflecting on his family’s tragedy, Ruben Jr. said that young people and those with healthy immune systems might be able to overcome the illness easily. However, for people with compromised immune systems, like the Lozanos, the disease can be ravaging.

“We really can’t afford to relax about this disease. It’s taking the lives of family members and friends away from us,” Ruben Jr. said. “Wearing a mask and washing your hands are great, but we really need to give distance to each other. It’s hard because we miss seeing each other, but we have to get control of this COVID-19 situation. You might not realize how serious it is until it takes your own loved ones.”

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. I am do sorry loss of your mother and father we knew both .Wonderful couple Anita was my husband’s Johnny’s boss at Liberty Dayton hospital .

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s story, putting faces on this disease. The community has been blessed in many ways by you all. We continue to hold you in our prayers

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss and I pray that Hid will give you all the comfort you need to get through this. God bless you all.

  4. So sorry to hear of your family’s tragic loss. Such a wonderful love story to share with future generations of your family.This disease is damning to loved ones left behind, but your parents love for each other proves it can conquered.

  5. I am so Sadden to just learn of the loss of two of Hardins Icons Passing
    Some of the best times of my Life was with Miss A
    She was definitely a smart lady, awesome cook and Loved her Family… Ruben was always working hard to Raise his family but loved to Spend time with family and Friends on the weekend.. their Legacy was their Children and Grand-children and Ruben Jr is Right God had to take them both all they knew was a life of togetherness
    Now, they still have it..
    Till we see you Both Again
    Your memories will forever be in our hearts 💕

  6. I knew Annie as a young girl because she was my brother-in-law, Domingo, little sister. She was polite, kind and somewhat shy. I’m touched by her life with your father. I’m glad to know she had a good life, and enjoyed being a mother to you. Thanks for sharing their story with us. I shall pray for your family.

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