Tennessee dentist dies of COVID-19

J. Randall Pearce, DDS, died Dec. 25 from COVID-19 complications, reports NBC affiliate WBIR-TV.

Dr. Pearce, 69, operated his general dentistry private practice for more than 30 years, according to his obituary. He also worked as a forensic dentist at Knoxville-based University of Tennessee Body Farm. His team responded to ground zero after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to identify remains.

"He could take something as dark as dental identification through death and he would make it where it was helping families, bringing closure, bringing peace to a lot of these families," said Kimberly Peterson, Dr. Pearce's daughter.

The dentist died after a two-week battle with COVID-19. His lungs had been compromised with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from working at ground zero.

Ms. Peterson voiced frustration at Americans refusing to wear masks: Her father wore one all day, every day.

"He was a healthcare provider and an essential worker," Ms. Peterson told WBIR-TV. "My father wasn't an old man."

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