Fort Worth

Couple Married More Than Half a Century Dies Together from COVID-19 While Holding Hands

Curtis and Betty Tarpley were married for 53 years

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Curtis and Betty Tarpley spent more than half a century as a couple. On June 18, they took their last breaths together in a hospital room, holding hands.

"With them both going at the same time, you're not seeing one of them grieve or be sad for the other one," son Tim Tarpley said. "I think that's very helpful."

Tarpley said his 80-year old mother hadn't been feeling well. "My dad would, like, whisper 'Oh, I think she's got that COVID stuff ya know'," Tarpley explained.

Betty went into Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth on a Tuesday. Two days later, her 79-year-old husband followed. Both had COVID-19. Tarpley is now quarantined at home.

"It's the saddest thing ever," Tarpley said. "Because you drop your parents off at the curb and their walkers, and they walk themselves into the emergency room and you don't see them again."

Tarpley said he last words to his mother were via text, communicated to her through a nurse. "I just said that she was a great mom, but she's gonna be a better angel."

"Growing up, nobody wants to turn into their parents, right," Tarpley said holding back tears. "Then, as we get older, we get to that age, right? They're our heroes, and you're lucky if you end up being half as good as they are."


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