EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Two longtime El Paso educators died from COVID-19 this week, a somber reminder of the virus’ deadly grip on our city.
According to his family, Charlie Brown, a longtime football coach who retired from Fabens High School last year, died after a three-week battle with COVID-19. Natalie Sabrena Reveles, an English teacher at Parkland High School, also died from COVID-19 on Friday, according to District officials.
Brown taught Science and Physical Education at Burges, Socorro, Aledo High, El Paso High, Montwood, Santa Teresa, Cathedral, and Fabens High School before his retirement last year. He also coached at the Greater El Paso Football Showcase for many years.
Condolences for Brown came in across the coaching community in El Paso Saturday night.
“Great man one of the most positive influences in my life. A big reason on why I am in the coaching profession,” said Parkland football coach Eric Frontz.
“Mr. Brown was different. a model man on this earth. I enjoyed our talks at Santa T n during all star weeks. I luv u big guy n hope u can grant the family peace down here,” read a tweet from Coach Klay Gardiner.
Brown’s father was a coach and his son, Donald, went on to coach football as well.
“His greatest achievement was marrying my mom 50 years ago. He loves her unconditionally and would always say, “I’m nothing without my sweetheart and eternal companion.” That’s who he is, a man of love and integrity, compassion and care. The master motivator and with a shout of “root hog or horse collar” he would lead the charge. He wouldn’t swear or belittle but could always let people know his frustration with a simple yell of “horse feathers or bull corn,” his son, Donald told KTSM.
Vickie Brown, Charlie Browns wife saying she spoke with him on the phone the day he passed away.
“He called me yesterday morning and a couple of times he had said ‘I don’t think I’m going to make it’. And I go ‘no’, I’m his biggest cheerleader ‘you’re going to fight this, we’re a family, we’re strong, we’re here for you, we’re going to get through this’. Yesterday when he called me he said it a little different and he said ‘I’m not going to make it’,” said Vickie Brown.
Saying she never missed a game, but the two had to say good bye to one another over the phone.
“He knew he was headed for a ventilator and he knew that he probably wasn’t going to make it from that and he didn’t want me to have to make that choice to turn off a ventilator,” said Vickie Brown.
While Coach Brown lost his battle with COVID-19, his son telling KTSM 9 News he never stopped fighting.
“That was one of the things he continued to teach his entire life, you never stop fighting, scratch, claw, one of his favorite sayings was a good ol’ root hog, he fought,” said Donald Brown.
Parkland High School is also mourning the loss of longtime beloved English teacher Natalie Sabrena Reveles. She contracted COVID in late October and passed away Friday. Condolences and memories of Reveles began pouring in on social media Saturday from current and former students, along with colleagues.
“She was such a kind and beautiful soul. She was one of those teachers that the students clung to and couldn’t wait to go to her class. They loved her so much. One of the best. When she talked to you, she always made you feel special because she genuinely cared to hear how you were feeling and doing. She was a ray of light in what sometimes felt like a dark and stressful work environment. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her,” said Alejandra Villanueva on Facebook.
“Mrs. Reveles was such a lovely teacher. She genuinely cared for all of her students. In a time of great despair, it is disappointing to lose her. I will always remember her for being a great teacher that strived for our success,” Erick Sanchez said on a GoFundMe post.
KTSM 9 News spoke with Reveles’s friend and colleague Maribel Sifuentes-Perez. Perez said she knew Reveles had COVID-19 and was checking on her regularly but on Friday she didn’t receive a text back.
“Even on Friday when she passed away she sent me a text in the morning and I responded but she never saw it,” said Maribel Sifuentes-Perez
Perez heartbroken by the loss of Reveles, saying she was a kind person, who listened and respected all people. One thing she say’s she’ll never forget is Reveles’s sense of style.
“I would look at her and be like man I wish I could dress like that. It was like every day I wonder what she’s wearing today that’s going to make an impact. And on her second year there at Parkland she got a whole spread in the yearbook because of her fashion.”
Brown and Reveles each had strong ties to the Eastwood High School community, each of them had several children — all of whom attended Eastwood or the Eastwood feeder pattern schools.