Harnett County couple married for 61 years dies of COVID-19 minutes apart, holding hands

Local News

COATS, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina reached another grim milestone Wednesday, a record 98 new deaths from COVID-19.

To date, 5,979 people in our state have died from the virus. Behind each of these deaths is a family forever changed.

Sherwood Pope and his wife, Doris are among them.

“She loved that man and he loved her,” Shelton, their youngest son said.

They were married for 61 years.

“Mom and dad was, was all about family. Where you seen one you seen the other,” he explained.

They lived just outside of Coats, in Harnett County.

“They would do anything for anyone,” Shelton said.

Shelton told CBS 17 his mother started feeling sick after Thanksgiving. She tested positive for COVID-19 and soon she could barely breath. Sherwood followed.

Both taken to UNC Rex Hospital. Their hospital bed moved next to one another.

They died Monday.

“It was the hardest thing anybody had to do… They passed away holding hand. Apparently dad left first and she was a minute or two later,” Shelton said.

The couple is representative of what the state is seeing in case demographics. A look at death by race shows 63 percent of those who have died are White, according to the state’s dashboard. 28 percent are Black or African American.

In terms of age, those 75 or older make up 59 percent of deaths. Those between 65 and 74 comprise 23 percent of fatalities. That trend has been consistent since March.

“You always have thoughts of losing a parent. You know, you dread that day and then here we are, we lost both of them at the same time,” Shelton said.

Sherwood and Doris will be laid to rest Thursday.

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