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North Texas couple passes away within hours of each other after 58 years of marriage

Dorothy and Johnnie Cox were in hospice beds next to each other and holding hands as she passed away.

BURLESON, Texas — There aren’t too many stories like Johnnie and Dorothy Cox's.

“Always loving caring, very supportive,” Rose Claxton said of her parents. “One wouldn’t be without the other.”

The story starts in 1963 when Dorothy was 18 and Johnnie was 23. The couple went on a double date and just a couple of weeks later were already married.

“They knew what they wanted so they went for it,” Claxton said.

Rose Claxton and Michelle Cox are two of the pair’s five children.

“They were always hiking,” Cox said. “They would run up the mountains together try to see who could beat who.”

They loved the outdoors and recently celebrated 58 years of marriage, but Dorothy had battled cancer for a year and a half, and Johnnie had ongoing heart problems.

“Around Mother’s Day, that’s when my mom started getting to where she didn’t know us,” Claxton said.

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Dorothy came to Community Healthcare of Texas Hospice House at Huguley. Within days, Johnnie started to become sick enough he needed be checked in, too, and nurses gave him a bed right next to his wife.

“You can’t find love every day like that,” Claxton said.

On May 15, Dorothy passed away, holding hands with the man she loved for nearly six decades.

“They loved each other very much - to the end,” Michelle Cox said. “It’s sweet but sad.”

Hours later, Johnnie joined her.

“It's very special.” nurse Bob Drapiza, who helped care for the couple, said.

In 20 years working in hospice, Drapiza has only heard of a couple passing together at the facility one other time.

“I think it meant a great deal to him,” he said. “I think maybe it prepared him to go also.”

“It’s hard, but it’s nice at the same time,” Michelle Cox said. “They’re not suffering anymore.”

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There aren’t too many stories like Johnnie and Dorothy Cox where love starts at first sight and the phrase ‘till death do us part’ still rings true decades later.

“It’s bittersweet,” Claxton said. “Yes, it’s sad for us but they wanted to be together.”

It’s a story where even in grief, there’s a love worth celebrating.