The Journal Gazette
Monday, April 06, 2020 1:00 am

'18 Congress hopeful dies from virus

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

A Greensburg attorney who ran for Congress in 2018 has died from COVID-19. 

Jim Pruett, 62, succumbed to the virus Wednesday, his wife, Mimi Wadleigh Pruett, told The Journal Gazette.

John Zody, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, noted his death on Twitter. 

“We are saddened at the passing of Decatur County's Jim Pruett, who bravely battled COVID-19 for several days. Jim ran for Congress in 2018, and our thoughts are with his wife, Decatur County Chair Mimi Pruett and their family. RIP, Jim. You were a great man,” Zody wrote. 

Jim Pruett finished second in a four-person field when he ran for the Democratic Party nomination in the 6th Congressional District in 2018. The district includes east-central and southeastern Indiana, was represented for a dozen years by Vice President Mike Pence and is now represented by Pence's brother, Republican Rep. Greg Pence.

Jorge Fernandez, an educator and Democratic Party activist in Allen County, said he spent time with Pruett a couple of years ago at a political convention in French Lick. 

“I discovered someone that deeply cared about making his community a better place. He also wanted to see young people, like me, getting involved,” Fernandez said.

Pruett had diabetes but no heart condition until the virus struck him, Mimi Pruett said.

“His heart stopped beating because he didn't have enough oxygen,” she said.

Jim Pruett spent his last hours in his hospital room but was aware that his family was there virtually through FaceTime.

“We talked and his friends were sending in memories from their youth and we were able to read those to him, share stories and laugh,” Mimi Pruett said. “I know he heard those things, you could tell from his reaction.” He was not able to talk, she added.  

Pruett said her husband's body will be transported from an Indianapolis hospital to a funeral home in Greensburg, but only a few people will be allowed to view the body.

Mimi Pruett, 60, said she and her 30-year-old son were also infected with the virus and reported body aches. They tested positive and have self-quarantined.

Pruett said she wipes surfaces all the time. 

“The thing is (it stays) on all kinds of surfaces where it lasts for days and days and days, apparently. It clings to metal, plastic, hair and clothing and all you have to do is touch that and touch your eye and you have it,” Pruett said 

“This virus is really evil. You start to think you're getting over it and you're not coughing as much and then all of the sudden, it hits you. You're overcome with fatigue and you can't keep your eyes open,” Pruett said.

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