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Former Miss Virginia, 82, who was declared dead from COVID-19 reportedly comes ‘back to life’

Former Miss Virginia, 82, ‘comes back to life’ minutes after doctors told her distraught family she had died of Covid

  • Barbara Guthrie Lay, 82, who was crowned in 1958, was rushed to hospital on December 20 after having trouble breathing at her home in Rosewell, Georgia 
  • Two days later her husband of six years, Tony Lay who was unable to attend the ICU because of social-distancing rules, was informed Barbara had died 
  • Tony began informing relatives and friends that his beloved wife had passed on only to receive another call telling him that a pulse had been found 

A former Miss Virginia has ‘come back to life’ minutes after doctors told her distraught family she had died of Covid.

Barbara Guthrie Lay, 82, who was crowned in 1958, was rushed to hospital on December 20 after having trouble breathing at her home in Rosewell, Georgia.

Two days later her husband of six years, Tony Lay, who was unable to attend the ICU because of social-distancing rules, was informed Barbara had died.

Tony began telling relatives and friends that his beloved wife had passed on only to receive another call minutes later telling him that a pulse had been found. 

Barbara now lives in Rosewell, Georgia, with her husband of six years Tony Lay

Barbara Guthrie Lay, 82, who was crowned in 1958 (left), was rushed to hospital on December 20 after having trouble breathing at her home in Rosewell, Georgia

Barbara with her husband Tony Lay and Miss Virginia 2015 Savannah Lane. 'I have always loved my wife,' Tony said. 'I just didn't realize exactly how much until this happened and that I can't live without her.'

Barbara with her husband Tony Lay and Miss Virginia 2015 Savannah Lane. ‘I have always loved my wife,’ Tony said. ‘I just didn’t realize exactly how much until this happened and that I can’t live without her.’

‘I was overjoyed and tearful again,’ Tony told Local 21. ‘I went from being miserable and brokenhearted to overjoyed.’ 

Barbara and Tony Lay

Barbara and Tony Lay

He said it was not clear how Barbara had come back from the dead but that she has since been moved from ICU to a regular ward.

Tony said they had not yet told Barbara what happened and he was still deciding how and when to inform her.

‘I have always loved my wife,’ Tony said. ‘I just didn’t realize exactly how much until this happened and that I can’t live without her.’

He added that his wife is a fighter who has told him she wants to live until she’s 101 so they can celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.

It was Barbara’s son Thom Kelley, a doctor, who was first told that his mother had died.

He received a call minutes later telling him that she was actually alive.

Kelley relayed the news each time to Barbara’s husband Tony.

‘As a physician, I will say without hesitation there is only one word for what has happened over the past week – a miracle,’ Kelley told The Bulletin.

An old friend of Barbara’s, Howard Huff, said he was going to save a clipping of the story to show the former beauty queen when she is discharged.

‘Barbara has not seen a spotlight she didn’t like,’ he joked. ‘She has this incredible will to live and always says she plans to live until she’s 101.’

The Lays believe that Barbara contracted the virus after contact with a neighbor. 

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