Betty and Curtis Tarpley died of coronavirus on June 18 in Texas

By Jason Duaine Hahn
July 01, 2020
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A couple who were married for more than half a century reportedly succumbed to coronavirus complications on the same day in Texas.

According to CNN, Betty and Curtis Tarpley, 80 and 79, died within an hour of each other on June 18 and held hands during their final minutes together.

The couple's son, Tim Tarpley, told the network that Betty showed symptoms of the deadly disease just before she was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth on June 9. Curtis was admitted to the same hospital just two days later.

Tarpley said Betty phoned both him and his sister, telling them she was at peace with dying as her condition continued to decline.

"I just screamed, 'No!' I was like, 'I've got too much, too many other things to do in this life that I want to show you, and I'm not ready,'" he recalled to CNN.

Once the family updated Curtis on Betty's worsening prognosis, his health began to suffer as well.

"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 of his father.

Blood test tube for coronavirus
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"I think he fought because he thought the team needed him, but he was also tired and he was in pain," he continued.

While Betty and Curtis — who were married for 53 years — were in separate rooms during treatment, they were placed together when they entered comfort care. Blake Throne, an ICU nurse at the hospital, did his best to make that happen, according to CNN.

"It felt like the right thing to do was to get them together," Throne told the outlet. "I started inquiring about if it was even possible and then I started shaking the tree to try to get it done."

Betty died about 20 minutes after they were placed together, and Curtis followed around 45 minutes later.

While they weren't able to speak to each other in their final moments, Tarpley believes his parents were still able to comfort each other.

"I honestly think they were so incapacitated that all they could do was talk with their souls or something, a special unspoken language," he said. "They obviously knew each other well enough that they could communicate without words."

Coronavirus continues to spread around the United States, with the country seeing more than 2.6 million cases and 127,762 deaths from the disease as of Wednesday, according to the New York Times

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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