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After 53 years of marriage, a Texas couple died from Covid-19 while holding hands

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Betty and Curtis Tarpley were together for most of their lives -- they went to the same high school in Illinois, met and fell in love in California as adults, got married, and raised two kids.

Tim Tarpley said his mom, who was 80, had been sick for a few days when he took her to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and found out she had Covid-19.

Tarpley, 52, said his dad was in the ICU and seemed to be doing well.

Betty's condition declined, and Tarpley said she called him and his sister, Tricia, and told them she "was ready to go. "

Hospital staff let Tarpley and his sister visit their mom twice, he said.

Tarpley said he called his dad to update him on his mom's condition and told him how much he loved him.

"I really feel like he like he was fighting because he was supposed to and once he knew she wasn't gonna make it, then he was okay with, you know, taking it to the house," Tarpley said.

Tarpley said that a nurse he'd never even spoken to arranged for his mom and dad to be together.

"It felt like the right thing to do was to get them together," said Blake Throne, one of the ICU nurses caring for Curtis.

Throne said it took a team effort, but they were able to move Betty to the ICU, so she and her husband could be side-by-side.

"He knew what we said.

Throne said he then put Betty's hand on Curtis' arm.

Betty died after about 20 minutes and Curtis died about 45 minutes later, Throne said.

Tarpley said the was grateful for the hospital staff's empathy and kindness.

Tarpley said he doesn't know how his parents got Covid-19, but he said he had to quarantine because he caught it from them.

That time together made their relationship even stronger, which Tarpley said gave him "another level of peace. "

He said the family and friends hope to be able to have a celebration of Betty and Curtis' life next year.

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