John Scott Parney Sr died from Covid-19 on Dec. 14. The Michigan diner owner became famous last year after he ignored the state shutdown and refused to close down his diner. The 62-year-old said that he needed the income from the diner to pay for his wife’s medical bills.
According to his obituary, “John honorably served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He was a member of New Hope United Brethren Church and he owned and operated the Quincy Diner while working full-time at Firekeepers Casino and Hotel.”
Parney was unvaccinated and died after a two-month battle with Covid-19. He was first diagnosed on Sept. 29 and spent three days in the hospital before being sent home. Two days later, Parney’s family found him “incoherent and confused in his bed.”
According to a GoFundMe page set up by his family, John Scott Parney Sr’s conditioned worsened while he was in the hospital and two weeks ago, he was put on a ventilator before passing away.
The GoFundMe wrote, “For those who will ask, no, John was not vaccinated from COVID-19. However, during his battle, when he was able to talk, John shared with his family that he will be getting vaccinated because the battle, at that point, was worse than any training he endured in the military.”
So far, the fundraiser has raised over $23,000 for John’s wife Paula and the rest of his family. The page had an original goal of $25,000 and according to organizers all the money will go to funeral costs, travel for Paula to the hospital and medical bills.
Heidi Hodshire, Paula Parney’s sister, spoke highly of her brother-in-law after his death. She said, “He was a great man. He was a godly man, and he supported the armed services.”
Hodshire traveled from Kansas City to Camden, Mich. to help her sister run Quincy Diner when John was in the hospital. The family diner gained national attention last year when John defied the partial state shutdown and kept his diner open.
In Dec. 2020, Parney spoke to MLive and said, “My wife’s fighting stage-four colon cancer. We depend on this restaurant to help subsidize billing and all of that. My employees need that. Of course, if I’d have stayed closed much longer, I’d have lost the business.”
At the time, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services had issued a partial shutdown of dine-in services to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The shutdown only lasted until Dec. 20, but John still refused to listen.
The Michigan diner owner said that he couldn’t afford to shut down again. During the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020, John Scott Parney Sr lost over $250,000 in business.
The small business did receive funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, but according to the GoFundMe, it was only a small portion of what they could had made if they stayed open.
He said, “You do get flak from a lot of people that lean the other way, that you ought to be closed. They don’t understand that I lost a quarter of a million dollars the first time around. I’m not a rich man at all. I need this place to run.”
Parney also said that he was keeping his diner open for his employees, who had no source of income and needed to support their families during the holidays.
A funeral was held for John Scott Parney Sr at the New Hope United Brethren Church in Michigan on Dec. 20. Parney is survived by his wife, three children, eight grandchildren, his mother, and his siblings.