Unvaccinated Michigan diner owner who defied shutdown dies of COVID

An unvaccinated Michigan diner owner who bucked a state shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic has died of COVID-19.

John Scott Parney Sr., who ran the Quincy Diner in southern Michigan, died on Dec. 14 at a hospital in Battle Creek, according to his obituary. The 62-year-old Camden man was first hospitalized with the virus in late September, but returned home days later.

Parney’s condition then dramatically worsened — with relatives finding him “incoherent” and confused in his bed two days later, according to an online fundraiser posted on his behalf.

“John’s stats were dangerously low and he was immediately placed in isolation and given oxygen,” the fundraiser reads. “No one would have ever expected what the next 43 days would have brought to our sister, Paula, and their family.”

Parney’s wife, Paula, is battling colon cancer and he partly kept open the Quincy Diner in defiance of the shutdown ordered by Michigan’s Department of Health in December 2020 to pay her medical bills, he told MLive.com last year.

Parney ran the Quincy Diner in Michigan and defied orders during the state’s lockdown.
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“My wife’s fighting stage-four colon cancer,” Parney told the outlet. “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 my business.”

The diner did receive funds via the government’s Paycheck Protection Program designed to keep impacted businesses afloat, but got only a “fraction” of what it could’ve generated had it never closed down temporarily, according to the online fundraiser.

John Scott Parney Sr.
Parney previously served in the Marine Corps.

Parney reopened the diner as lockdown orders throughout Michigan were still in effect, WILX reported.

“He was a great man,” Paula Parney’s sister, Heidi Hodshire, told MLive.com. “He was a godly man and he supported the armed services.”

Parney, who previously served in the Marine Corps, also worked full-time at FireKeepers Casino and Hotel in Battle Creek, according to his obituary.

The hard-working vet and father of three wasn’t vaccinated, relatives said.

Parney with his wife, Paula.
Parney pictured here with his wife, Paula, who is fighting colon cancer.

“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,” according to the fundraiser signed by the Hodshire and Parney families.

A funeral for Parney was held Monday in Camden. Paula Parney, meanwhile, continues her fight against colon cancer, her sister Heidi told MLive.com Wednesday.

Some 56 percent of Michigan residents are fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University data. A total of 28,345 people have died in the state from COVID-19 as of Thursday.