Editor’s note: This story is part of a series about Oklahomans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the stories of other Oklahomans here. Have you lost a loved one to COVID-19? Help us tell their story. 

At age 74, Jane Sloan worked full-time at a nursing home, drove a Hummer and cared for rescue dogs at her home in Broken Arrow. 

“She was just a unique individual,” said Sloan’s daughter, Britni Husband. “She loved helping everybody. She was very independent. She loved to try new things.” 

Sloan worked through the pandemic last year, though her family urged her to cut back her hours for fear she would catch COVID-19. She had rheumatoid arthritis, which made her more vulnerable to the disease.

Sloan tested positive for COVID-19 just one week before vaccines became widely available to health care workers in December, Husband said. 

“It was that close, and she would still be here with us,” she said. 

Sloan spent two weeks on a ventilator in a Tulsa hospital before she died on January 3, just a few weeks before her 75th birthday. 

“I was the one that took her to the hospital,” Husband said. “They tried everything. They tried all the treatments. … COVID had completely devastated her lungs, so there was really nothing they could do.” 

The family was only able to be in the hospital to say goodbye, Husband said. Sloan, a widow, had eight children and 17 grandchildren. 

Sloan grew up in Kansas but raised her family in Oklahoma. She went back to school to get her nursing degree after her last child was in high school. She graduated in the 1990s and spent the next 20 years as a nurse, Husband said. 

Sloan’s annual Halloween party was a staple for family and friends. She’d plan for months in advance, and even once built a haunted house. 

“She was always on the go,” Husband said. 

Sloan’s first great-grandchild is due to be born next year, on what would have been her 76th birthday.

“The people that are working in the hospital settings, in nursing home settings, they’re literally putting their lives on the line for other people,” Husband said. “They care about what they do, and we should care about them.”