Married 56 years, Melvindale couple dies hours apart holding hands

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It is a true love story. 

Their daughters say during their 56 years of marriage the couple were always together - and they were up until they took their final breaths. True love in life and in death.

Will and Judy Webb grew up in Detroit and started as friends.

"At 14 they met and were friends, they dated other people, they were engaged to other people," said Marybeth Webb, a daughter. "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 was serving in Korea and their friendship grew into love. And on February 16, 1963, Will and Judy Webb said 'I do.'

They moved to Melvindale, Mich. where they would raise their three daughters.

"The love and mutual respect," said Lori Thomas, one of their daughters. "They always had their arms on each other. If she was away five minutes, he would say, 'Where's mama, have you seen mama?'"

Fifty-six years of love laughter and family. But a few months ago life as they knew it would change. Judy suffered complications from a routine surgery.

"It went bad," Lori said. "She ended up coding from it. My father watched it and broke."

That night Will went home. The next morning his daughters discovered the 77-year-old had collapsed.

Both Will and Judy were taken to different hospitals, separated for the first time in 56 years. But they were still connected emotionally and physically, which doctors and their daughters who all happen to be nurses, can't explain.

"She would get a fever from her infection; he would get a fever. Vouldn'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. 

"Both ended up unresponsive at the same time, ended up back in the ICU."

Both fought hard to live, but soon their bodies began to shut down.

"I put him in hospice and let God take it from there, and my mom just started declining so bad we said we have to get them back together, we can't do this, they can't die without one another," said Ann Warren, another daughter. "We said 'Mom, you want to see dad?' She said 'Yes.' (She was) all excited and 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."

On March 2, Will and Judy were reunited in hospice. The girls pushed the beds of their parents together, positioning them close enough so they could hold hands. 

The loving couple would hold on until Will took his last breath.

"They were holding hands and when my dad took his last breath, my mom went like this rubbing his 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 did the same. They died the way they lived, together - always.

"We are 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."

"We all have this long line of love we just treasure," Ann said. "That's why no one should ever settle. If you have someone you truly love you should fight for it. They fought for their love every day."