Topeka family, congregation heartbroken after beloved pastor dies from coronavirus


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A local family and congregation are feeling the loss of a Topeka pastor after coronavirus took her life.

Silvia and Polo Delacruz both moved to the U.S. from Guatemala years ago. In Topeka they built a life, a family and a congregation together.

Both are pastors at Topeka’s El Encuentro Church.

“She would lead worship. Literally I had to hold her hand and take her out of the church, because she would talk to everyone,” Polo Delacruz said.

Now her family is coping with her devastating loss after coronavirus killed her in late July. Her daughter Saritah Delacruz said it was a shock to the entire family.

“When I actually first found out, I wasn’t really worried because I was like my mom is young, she’s healthy, she’s not sick in any way,” Saritah Delacruz said. “We didn’t know about any preexisting conditions and I thought she was going to pull through.”

Silvia’s husband Polo got the virus too, but he made a full recovery.

The pain of losing his wife is something he’ll never recover from, though.

“I always told her, when I fell in love with you it was your happiness. That’s what hurts the most, I gave her my heart and I will never be the same,” Polo Delacruz said.

Her whole family will forever be touched by both her death and her life.

Silvia’s niece Dulce Cadogan said her aunt was a huge influence for the whole family.

“We are where we are and we’ve accomplished what we’ve accomplished because of who she was and the love and the warmth that she always gave so freely to all of us. I just keep thinking I want to see her beautiful smile again and just give her a hug,” Cadogan said.

“Her smile, her personality, just the way she was. I’m definitely going to miss singing with her at church here too,” Saritah Delacruz said.

“Even though she was taken away from us and our worlds are crushed, because I feel like something really died in me and in my kids, But her legacy is just very strong that we will not, we will not stop,” Polo Delacruz said.

There is a GoFundMe set up in Silvia’s memory. You can find that here.

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