Married decades, dead in a minute: Long-married couple die of COVID-19 together
TORONTO -- A Michigan couple married for more than 47 years died from COVID-19 on the same day, within a minute of each other.
Patricia, 78, and Leslie, 75, McWaters both died from the disease on Nov. 24 at exactly 4:23 p.m. local time, according to a joint obituary for the couple.
“The hospital staff that cared for them, as they lost their battle to COVID, said it was too close to call. They recorded their deaths at the exact same time,” the tribute said.
Joanna Sisk, the couple’s daughter, said the family believed Patricia likely died before her husband, known as “LD.”
“But I can tell you this, that when they passed, we really do think, that mom, the boss, she definitely went to his room and took him by the hand and said, ‘Come on, LD. Let’s go,’” Sisk told local television station WDIV on Sunday.
The McWaters were married on April 16, 1973 and, according to their family, they were inseparable ever since.
“It’s beautiful, but it’s just so tragic… kind of like Romeo and Juliet,” Sisk said. “One wouldn't have wanted to be without the other.”
According to their obituary, Patricia worked at Foote Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, Mich. for 35 years as a registered nurse in the OR while Leslie was a truck driver and a veteran of the United States Navy Reserves.
In their free time, the couple enjoyed going out dancing at the bar where they first met, hosting summer pool parties, and driving their ’59 Corvette to car shows.
“They did almost everything together, so it should be no surprise that they went to be with the Lord together within the very same minute,” the obituary read.
They also always made time for their family, which includes two daughters, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
And while Patricia was known as a “no-nonsense person,” Leslie was “fun-loving” and the “king of one-liners,” including his all-time favourite: “It’s too far from your heart to kill you!”
Despite being “polar opposites,” the family said the McWaters were able to make their marriage work for nearly 50 years.
“Overall, I think that it was just give and take. They picked their battles,” Sisk said.
As Michigan continues to grapple with COVID-19 – the state reported more than 388,000 cases and 9,500 deaths as of Nov. 30 – Sisk said she hopes her parents’ story helps people to understand the severity of the disease.
“People were talking about it and not knowing that my parents were in the hospital, both fighting for their lives with it, and I just had tears streaming down my cheeks, listening to them,” Sisk said.
“It’s tough enough to lose one parent, but this was the worst… Our entire family is completely devastated.”
With files from WDIV