Metro woman got COVID-19 and died while visiting family in South America

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Friends and co-workers are mourning the death of a Metro Atlanta mother of two who contracted COVID-19 and died while visiting family in South America.

Irene Garzon Reyes worked at Belle De Jour Salon in Sandy Springs.

“She’s an amazing woman who worked here for us,” salon owner Andrea Goldklang told Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik. “She was so instrumental when we reopened with these very strict guidelines. And I know she took a lot of pride in her work.”

Goldklang said the single mother of 18-year-old twins decided she needed to visit her father and aunt in her native Colombia.

“We expressed concern, and she’s like, ‘I’m going to be so safe. I’m going to wear my mask, I’m going to be so safe,’” said Goldklang. “So it was quite shocking when we found out that she was sick.”

Within a week of arriving, Goldklang says Garzon Reyes, her father and aunt all contracted COVID-19 and were on ventilators. All three died within days of each other.

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“I know it’s very hard on the children,” she said. “It’s very hard.”

Goldklang has started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the teens, who are graduating next month from North Atlanta High in Buckhead.

“There’s an immediate need, you know, for expenses, and then we’re hoping to raise enough money for some college funds to start like 529,” she said.

Colleague and friend, Luz Florez, told Petchenik she will miss Garzon Reyes.

“She just had a very, very special way and was a very, very positive,” she said. “(A) wonderful woman who made our lives better.”