Patricia Negrón and Diane Larsen have been best friends since kindergarten, so Ms. Larsen was always ready to step in and help her pal with Eddie, that dancing husband of hers.
“He’d never tire, and I didn’t either,” Ms. Larsen recalled in a telephone interview. “Pat would say, ‘Here, you take him for a while.’ He was a fabulous dancer.”
He was a great jokester, too.
“Always a fun, humorous kind of guy,” another friend, Dick Roberts, said, “until it was time to get serious about ‘You need to do this medically.’”
If Dr. Negrón was a good dancer, he was an even better doctor. Mr. Roberts’s niece in Ohio was once having a problem that her own doctors couldn’t diagnose and that turned out to be an extremely rare condition. Dr. Negrón, Mr. Roberts said, diagnosed it from 800 miles away.
“I said, ‘Eddie, have you ever had a patient with this condition?’” Mr. Roberts said. “And he said, ‘No, but I remember it from medical school.’”
In early July Dr. Negrón contracted the Covid-19 virus. His daughter Marisa Hutchinson said the family doubts his medical work was the source.
“As a physician he’d been wearing a mask in public for months now,” she said. “Gloves, everything.”
Dr. Negrón died of the disease on July 23 at the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. He was 69. His death startled friends and family members, who said it should be a warning to those not taking the disease seriously.
“If there’s anybody who knows how to stay away from infectious diseases and to treat them,” Mr. Roberts said, “Eddie was one of them.”
Eddie Alberto Negrón was born on Sept. 9, 1950, in Vega Baja, on Puerto Rico’s north central coast, to David and Ana Lydia (Rosado) Negrón. When he was 10 the family moved to the Bronx, and his parents soon divorced; his mother, a certified nursing assistant, raised him and his two siblings. He spoke no English when he arrived in New York.
“He always told me that’s where his love of science and math began,” Ms. Hutchinson said, since those subjects were not as language-intensive as others.
He shined shoes to earn a little money and worked hard in school, where he also took up the cello. After graduating from Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, he earned a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He graduated in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree.
He was a laboratory technician at a Wisconsin hospital when he met his future mother-in-law, who worked in the cafeteria. She introduced him to her daughter, Patricia Renee Wright, a respiratory technician; they married in 1976.
Eventually he returned to school to get his medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine; after he completed his residency in 1986, the family settled on the Emerald Coast, where he worked at the White-Wilson Medical Center for 14 years before starting his own practice.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by three other children, Jason Negrón, David Schurman and Renae Cruz; and seven grandchildren.
“He was raised by a strict single mother with high expectations,” Ms. Hutchinson said. “He fulfilled all of them.”