Tom and Delma Ledbetter enjoyed 62 years of marriage. And when it was time to go home to be with Jesus, the two did it together. Just like something out of a romance story, the beautiful couple died holding hands, just hours apart.
It’s not easy losing two loved ones at once. But the family members of Tom and Delma Ledbetter find consolation in knowing the two ended their lives just as they’d spent them — together.
"Mama was from Nebraska, and daddy was from Arkansas," said Donetta Nichols, one of Tom and Delma’s daughters.
Though in separate states, Tom and Delma came from similar upbringings. Both grew up on the farm in poor families.
The two met in 1955 when they were in their twenties. Tom was in the United States Air Force, and already stationed in Florida. Delma had just moved there with a girlfriend. A mutual friend introduced them, and the rest was history.
The First Date
After their introduction, Tom went to move his car and Delma said she’d ride along. Already smitten, this became their “first date” of sorts.
After driving around a few blocks, Tom parked the car. Something just came over him, and he reached over, grabbed Delma’s hand and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Though Delma thought Tom was “being a bit forward,” she let it slide.
From there on out, Tom and Delma were inseparable. Three weeks later they were married. Next, the couple settled down in Texas, and started a family. Delma gave birth to two daughters, and 62 years of love flew by!
Faith, Family And Love
Donetta says her parents’ life together could be summed up in three words: faith, family and happiness.
Tom and Delma loved each other, but they loved their family just as much. Donetta paints the type of Norman Rockwell family portrait we all dream of.
“Throughout our lives our parents stood behind us in every venture – good, bad, hard or easy,” Donetta wrote.
Both of their daughters were on the drill team in high school. Delma was there for every single practice. Even though Tom worked shift-work, Donetta says he made sure he never missed a game in which his daughter’s performed at half-time.
For their 62 years together, it was all about love and family.
“They were totally devoted to each other, their children, their grandchildren, and finally their great-grandchildren.”
Together To ‘Til End
Throughout the years, Tom and Delma talked about wanting to go to Heaven together. It was a sweet thought, but no one in the family imagined it would actually happen that way.
But God had a special plan for this loving couple.
After a life well lived, the day finally came when Delma fell ill. It became clear she wasn’t going to 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.
Just a few days later, Tom’s health took a sharp turn, too. The family brought him to the nursing home with his beloved Delma, and they pushed the two beds together.
“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,” Donetta recalled.
It wasn’t long before Tom passed away. Then, not even a half an hour later, Delma passed on, too. The couple died holding hands, just like they’d always pictured.
While the family grieved the loss, knowing the two departed together brings so much comfort.
"I mean, it was exactly how they wanted to go. It couldn’t have been any better," Donetta said.
Donetta pictures her parents walking through the gates of Heaven, hand-in-hand. Knowing they are together and no longer in pain brings peace.
What a beautiful example of love, and what a gift from God to finish the race together!
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
h/t: KPRC Click2Houston
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Elderly couple’s date night shows the tear-jerking reality of true love