When Tom, 84, and Delma Ledbetter, 82 took their wedding vows of being there for each other in sickness and health, till death do them apart, they took it seriously till the end. After being wed for 62 years, the elderly couple took their last breaths together, dying hand in hand, in a nursing home, on April 21, 2017. Tom passed away first, subsequently followed by Delma one and a half hours later.
“It was exactly how they wanted to go. It couldn’t have been any better,” said their daughter Donetta Nichols.
The love story of the Ledbetter couple started in the 1950s when they were in their early 20s. The couple from Lake Jackson had known each other through mutual friends when they were living in Florida and seemed to hit it off right away. Well, unlike an ordinary first date, theirs took place when Tom was moving his car. “They drove around two, three different blocks or whatever and they came back and they parked. 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,’” said Nichols. And three weeks later, they got married.
Tom and Delma, who are survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, were quite an adventurous couple. They traveled around the United States, visiting campsite to campsite. In April 2017, Delma fell extremely ill, followed by Tom and they had to be hospitalized in a nursing home. “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. It seems that ‘something,’ was her husband, Tom, as strangely he fell ill shortly after his beloved wife,” recounted Nichols.
“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 a hold of her hand and he just laid there with her, and it was so sweet,” Nichols continued. They lay in their beds holding hands and eventually passed away, Tom first and Delma about 90 minutes later.
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