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Married Texas teachers die from COVID-19 complications holding hands

A married couple who worked as teachers in Texas died from COVID-19 complications while holding hands. 

Paul Blackwell, 61, and Rose Mary Blackwell, 65, passed away on Sunday at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth sharing a last embrace.

Paul Blackwell taught physical education and was football coach at Fannin Middle School for five years. His wife Rose was a second grade teacher and just celebrated her 20th year working at Travis World Language Academy.

Paul’s son Christopher Blackwell said they contracted the virus and checked into a hospital in early December. Soon after they required a ventilator to breathe.

Married teachers Paul Blackwell, 61, and Rose Mary Blackwell, 65, passed away holding hands on Sunday from COVID-19 complications in Texas

Paul's son and Rose's stepson Christopher Blackwell said doctors told their family the couple would not survive and they made the heartbreaking decision to pull their life support. 'They had them holding hands and they were both gone in a couple of minutes. I’ve never seen anything like that before and it’s hard to even put into words seeing that,' he said

Paul’s son and Rose’s stepson Christopher Blackwell said doctors told their family the couple would not survive and they made the heartbreaking decision to pull their life support. ‘They had them holding hands and they were both gone in a couple of minutes. I’ve never seen anything like that before and it’s hard to even put into words seeing that,’ he said

Last week the couple’s family members were told they wouldn’t survive and the family made the heartbreaking decision to take them off life support.

Hospital workers brought their beds together side by side and interlocked their hands for their final moments.

‘Two of my other brothers are actually in the room there at the hospital and they wheeled my stepmother in there in the room with my father and at the same time, removed them both from the ventilator,’ Christopher said to CBS11.

‘They had them holding hands and they were both gone in a couple of minutes. I’ve never seen anything like that before and it’s hard to even put into words seeing that,’ he added.

Paul Blackwell taught physical education and was football coach at Fannin Middle School for five years. His wife Rose was a second grade teacher and just celebrated her 20th year working at Travis World Language Academy

Paul Blackwell taught physical education and was football coach at Fannin Middle School for five years. His wife Rose was a second grade teacher and just celebrated her 20th year working at Travis World Language Academy

The couple kept working until they fell ill and had postponed family gatherings with their five kids over the summer due to the threat of the virus. It's not clear how they contracted COVID-19

The couple kept working until they fell ill and had postponed family gatherings with their five kids over the summer due to the threat of the virus. It’s not clear how they contracted COVID-19

Hospital workers at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth (above) brought the couple side by side and interlocked their hands before the family pulled off the couple's life support

Hospital workers at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth (above) brought the couple side by side and interlocked their hands before the family pulled off the couple’s life support

The couple kept working until they fell ill and had postponed family gatherings with their five kids over the summer due to the threat of the virus.

It’s not clear how they contracted COVID-19.    

‘They said ’til death do us part. And that’s how that went,’ Christopher said.

Students at the two schools have been offered counseling following the teachers’ deaths. 

‘Rose Mary and Paul will be greatly missed by many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, friends, co-workers, and students both current and former,’ the Grand Prairie school district said in a statement.

Paul pictured above. The teachers' deaths have devastated their students and the community

Paul pictured above. The teachers’ deaths have devastated their students and the community 

'Rose Mary and Paul will be greatly missed by many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, friends, co-workers, and students both current and former,' the Grand Prairie school district said in a statement

‘Rose Mary and Paul will be greatly missed by many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, friends, co-workers, and students both current and former,’ the Grand Prairie school district said in a statement

In Texas there have been 1,520,038 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 24,890 deaths as of Tuesday.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the Blackwells’ funeral expenses and has raised over $7,000 as of Tuesday.

‘We have had a tragic loss in the Blackwell Family. Sunday evening we lost both our parents Rosemary & Paul Blackwell due to Covid complications,’ the fundraiser says. 

‘They left behind many, many loved ones which includes (their children, their wives, 20 grandchildren, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews & parents. We are all at a loss for words at this time but want to thank everyone for their continued prayers,’ it adds. 


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