CHICAGO (CBS) — One year ago today, the United States confirmed its first case of COVID-19. In the 365 days since, COVID has spared no part of this country, killing 400,000 and infecting millions more.

On that anniversary, Chicago honors those victims and CBS 2’s Jim Williams tells the story of a suburban Chicago man — “the life of the party” — who is among more than 18,000 residents of Illinois to succumb to the deadly virus.

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Dominic Quaglia was a young boy when he and his family came to the United States from Italy. The language barrier allowed young Dominic to conceal his poor grade school performance from his parents, who only spoke Italian.

“You know, when the teachers weren’t able to communicate with my grandparents,” said Jason Quaglia, Dominic’s son.

But Jason said his dad later would become a stellar student who went on to the University of Illinois at Chicago. He and his wife started a business in suburban Norridge, a store called Beyond the Limit. Dominic defined the American Dream, Jason said, starting as an immigrant who spoke no English and becoming an entrepreneur.

Dominic coached youth teams, volunteered at his kids’ schools, and taught his children to be kind and compassionate.

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“He would help anybody out whoever, you know, reached out to him for help; and he was heavily involved in the Italian-American community here on the Northwest Side of Chicago,” Jason said.

Dominic Quaglia tested positive for COVID in October and died a week later. The “life of the party,” his son called him, gone at 65.

“Anytime you’d walk in somewhere … big smiles on everyone’s faces,” Jason said. “He was joking and kidding with everybody. He was just a great person to have around.”

Jason said his father always told his children: “Leave a room better than you found it.”

They say Dominic left the world better than he found it.

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