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Swampscott Whole Foods Market employee who died from COVID-19 was tireless worker, family says

Leon Marin, 53, worked at the Whole Foods Market in Swampscott. He passed away from COVID-19 on April 15.
Leon Marin, 53, worked at the Whole Foods Market in Swampscott. He passed away from COVID-19 on April 15.

The Swampscott Whole Foods Market employee who died from COVID-19 is being remembered by his family as a tireless worker.

Leon Marin, 53, of Lynn, died April 15 after contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to his family.

Marin’s son Jose said his father usually held down two to three jobs at a time and hardly ever called out sick or missed a day of work.

“He pretty much worked all day, every day,” he said. “He’d try to go to work, no matter what.”

When his father first started feeling ill, he said, “he thought it was just a fever."

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But then his health quickly began deteriorating. As the disease progressed, "we were all praying for him,” he said.

Marin said he and his father were both born in June. His birthday is coming up on June 3, and his father’s is June 25. He would have been turning 54 years old. Instead of celebrating their birthdays, his family will be grieving the loss of their father.

Marin said his mother, who suffers from asthma, has also tested positive for the coronavirus. She and his three siblings are all self-quarantining.

As far as his mother’s health goes, he said “some days are better than others,” and she is mourning the loss of her husband. “It’s kind of taking a toll on her,” he said.

Leon Marin’s son Juan said when his father wasn’t working, he enjoyed going to church at St. Joseph’s in Lynn, talking with his relatives in Mexico, hosting cookouts, and spending time with his family.

“He loved spending time with us, playing with us, and teasing with us,” Juan said. “He really loved us so much."

Juan said his father always “went the extra mile” for him and his siblings.

“He sacrificed everything for us,” he said.

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Juan said his father was in good health before he got sick.

“He was healthy four weeks ago, and now he’s gone," he said. “We really didn’t think he’d go out like this.”

Leon Marin worked for Currito, a burrito shop at Logan International Airport in Boston, and was a chef at Whole Foods Market in Swampscott, according to his family.

Grocery store employees have found themselves on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, 59-year-old Vitalina Williams, who worked at a Market Basket in Salem and at a Lynn Walmart, succumbed to COVID-19.

On Friday Whole Foods Market officials released a statement confirming that a Swampscott store employee had died and that counseling would be offered to employees. The company did not release the name of the employee who died.

“Whole Foods Market is mourning the loss of a member of our community who passed away on April 15, 2020 due to COVID-19,” a Whole Foods Market spokesperson said in the statement. “Our hearts are with his loved ones during this incredibly difficult time, and with his fellow Team Members at our Swampscott, Massachusetts store.”

An online fundraising campaign for the Marin family has been launched on GoFundMe.com.




Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.