DETROIT, Mich. (CBS Local) — A Michigan couple who were married for 56 years died within hours of each other this month, holding hands until their final breaths, their daughters said.
Will and Judy Webb, who married in 1963, died March 2 at a Detroit hospice.
The couple grew up in Detroit and started out as friends.
“At 14 they met and were friends, they dated other people, they were engaged to other people,” Marybeth Webb, a daughter, told WJBK. “And then they were both single when he went to Army. So she was like, ‘I didn’t have anyone to write, so I started writing your dad.'”
They wrote the entire time Will served in Korea and their friendship grew into love. They walked down the aisle on Feb. 16, 1963.
The Webbs moved to Melvindale, Michigan, and raised three daughters.
“They always had their arms on each other,” said Lori Thomas, one of their daughters. “If she was away five minutes, he’d say, ‘Where’s mama, have you seen mama?'”
Things took a turn a few months ago when Judy suffered complications from a routine surgery and Will collapsed under the strain of her illness.
“She would get a fever from her infection; he would get a fever and they couldn’t figure out where his was coming from because there was no source,” Marybeth said. “She ended up with encephalopathy as a complication from the antibiotic she was on; he ended up with encephalopathy.”
Judy and Will were sent separate hospitals and struggled to recover, but soon their bodies began to shut down and they were reunited in hospice.
“They brought mom through the door in dad’s room and he looked over and saw her and said ‘Mama!’ And that was like the last thing he said,” said Ann Warren, another daughter.
The daughters pushed the beds of their parents together so they could hold hands.
“They were holding hands and when my dad took his last breath, my mom went like this [rubbing her sister’s hand],” said Lori. “She wasn’t responding but she knew he died, so she rubbed his hand, like I’ll be there soon – and she was.”
A few hours later, Judy also passed away.
“We’re suffering the loss of our parents at the same time and that’s horrid,” Marybeth said. “They will never have to suffer the loss of each other.”