Virginia couple, married 70 years, dies within minutes of one another: "I'm not gonna let him go alone"

by Peter Heck · Aug 11th, 2020 9:45 am
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Last Updated Aug 11th, 2020 at 2:41 pm

A Virginia couple died within minutes of each other just days after celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. Raymond and Kathleen Atkins commemorated their landmark anniversary at the home where they raised their four children.

At 90 years old, Raymond had developed numerous health problems, including lung cancer. Still, he continued to work at the Atkins Taxi business he and his wife had founded. His son said that he was determined to be out of the hospital and home to celebrate the marriage milestone with his family, despite his illness.

"He called me and said, 'I prayed to God all night and all day that I can leave this hospital, and I will be out of here in the morning.' This was the day before their anniversary," said Les Atkins.

Days after their anniversary, Raymond fell ill again. A daughter who had come to stay with her parents went in to check on him in the early hours of the morning to find that he had passed away. When Kathleen found out, she climbed in the bed next to him and spoke her last words: "I'm not gonna let him go alone."

Kathleen Atkins died minutes later.

"They did not want to go alone. They had endured this life together. They had this strong faith, and they just refused to be apart," said son Les Atkins. "It's a fairy tale in every sense of the word."

The couple is survived by four children, six grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. They were laid to rest beside one another.


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