He Died First. She Died 88 Minutes Later—When Their Daughter Sees Their Hands, She Knows They Got Their “Notebook” Ending

It’s not too often that you see the movies come to life—but in the case of Tom and Delma Ledbetter, they’re giving Nicholas Sparks a run for his money.

After 62 years of marriage, this couple just passed away within a mere 88 minutes of each other—but it’s not just their “Notebook”-style death that was inspiring. It was their life.

Tom and Delma’s daughter, Donetta Ledbetter Nichols, details her parents’ beautiful story in a viral Facebook post that has the Internet swooning over this couple’s fierce love, self-sacrifice and endless devotion…down to their final hour:

“My parents’ life was an inspiration. After being married almost 62 years, they passed away on April 21, 2017, within 1 ½ hours of each other. My dad passed away at 5:46 p.m. and my mother at 7:14 p.m.”


“I remember hearing them talk about wanting to go to Heaven together so many times over the years. I always thought to myself how nice that would be for them, but could that really happen? Although our entire family is sad they are gone, we feel blessed they were able to go together. Three words describe my parents’ life: Faith, Family & Happiness!”


“In 1955 my parents met through mutual friends in Florida, where my father, who was in the air force, was stationed. When he had to move his car to a different parking spot, my mother said she would ride with him. After driving around a couple of blocks and parking, my dad told me that he reached over and held my mother’s hand; then gave her a kiss on the cheek. He said he didn’t know what made him do it, but she later told him that she thought he was being a little “forward.” However, after three weeks of long walks around a nearby lake and talking about everything from their childhood to the present, my parents were married on June 19, 1955.”


“They had both been raised on farms and were very poor growing up. My dad was from Arkansas and my mother from Nebraska. They moved to Texas in 1956 where my dad took a job at Dow Chemical. My sister was born in December, 1956, and I was born in January, 1958. Throughout our lives our parents stood behind us in every venture – good, bad, hard or easy. In high school we were both on the Drill Team and my mother never missed a single practice after school. She always said she wanted to know exactly where we would be during the half-time performance at the football games. Although my dad worked shift-work, he never missed a single game. They were totally devoted to each other, their children, their grandchildren, and finally their great-grandchildren. It was all about family.”


“The first thing my father did when EMS brought him from the hospital was to take my mother’s hand in his. A day later they both passed away, still holding hands. From that point forward they were never separated. The funeral home kept them together, and a double funeral was held. I know they entered the gates of Heaven hand in hand, and with no pain! That is what keeps our family going. We loved them so much, and know we will see them again one day.”


“Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.” ~Mark 10:9

Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.