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

Curtis and Betty Tarpley celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2017. They died together earlier this month in a Texas ICU from Covid-19.
Curtis and Betty Tarpley celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2017. They died together earlier this month in a Texas ICU from Covid-19. (KPRC via CNN)

(CNN) – 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.

On June 18, after 53 years as a married couple, the two died from coronavirus within an hour of each other in a Texas hospital, spending their last moments together holding hands, their son told CNN.

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.

She was admitted on June 9 and his 79-year-old dad was admitted on the 11th.

Preparing to say goodbye

Tarpley, 52, said his dad was in the ICU and seemed to be doing well. Nurses had even been able to wheel Curtis to Betty's unit, so they could spend some time together.

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

It took him time to make peace with her decision.