LAKE JACKSON, Texas – After nearly 62 years of marriage, Lake Jackson couple Tom and Delma Ledbetter left this world about two weeks ago.
“Mama was from Nebraska, and daddy was from Arkansas,” said Donetta Nichols.
Nichols is one of the Ledbetters' daughters. She tells us the couple first met in their early 20s through mutual friends.
“He was stationed in Florida and my mother and her girlfriend had moved to Florida,” she said.
Their first date of sorts happened when Tom had to “just move his car.”
“They drove around two, three different blocks or whatever and they came back and they parked and he said he reached over and he grabbed her hand and he said, 'I don't know what made me do it.' He said, 'I just reached over and gave her a kiss on the cheek,'” Nichols said.
Three weeks later, they were married. Two daughters soon followed, then grandchildren and then great-grandchildren. It was a life filled with love and laughter. Then, in April of this year, Delma fell ill and did not recover.
“They couldn't get a pulse. They couldn't get a blood pressure. They couldn't get anything. Yet mama was just hanging on to something,” said Donetta.
A few days later, Tom too fell ill.
“We got him over to the nursing home with Mama. They had pushed their little beds together and Mama was laying right there, facing him. She was asleep and Daddy goes and he reached over there and he grabbed ahold of her hand and he just laid there with her, and it was so sweet,” Nichols said.
Not long after, Tom died. Delma followed, not even an hour and a half later. Their lives ended the same way their relationship began – holding hands.
“I mean, it was exactly how they wanted to go. It couldn't have been any better,” Nichols said.
From hospice to funeral home to final resting place, Tom and Delma didn't leave each other's side. Now, at Restwood Memorial Park, they'll never have to.