Couple married for 74 years dies within days of each other from COVID-19

By KMBZ Radio

Independence, MO – Lee knew from the moment he saw Martha that she was his soulmate. Martha just knew she liked what she saw. The couple married in 1946 after Lee returned from serving in the US Navy during WWII.

“The best decision I ever made was marrying a girl I loved, from Tennessee," said Lee Ross about his bride.

The Ross' moved from Paris, Tennessee to Independence, Missouri, and would go on to have three children and built a life in the home that Lee built himself off N. River Boulevard. You could always find Lee and Martha on the front porch of their family home, or, in the summer months, stop by their tomato stand.

And then time passed. Martha was 93. Lee was 95.

They both moved into a nursing facility in Independence about a year ago, before the pandemic. Their son Tim Ross says once his parents contracted the virus, they went fast.

“They had 'quarantined' dad earlier in the week and then they finally put mom in there with him," said Tim.

After Lee was moved into isolation, the staff soon moved Martha into the same room so they could be together. Lee passed away first on January 9th, and his wife would die soon after, just two days later.

“I mean it’s fitting that they did," says Tim. "They were together all through life, and they were together for this.”

Tim says his parents touched a lot of people's lives over their 74 years of marriage, and found the key to making it last: “Mom says patience, lots of patience. They got real close over the last, maybe, 20, 25 years. They got a lot closer.”

“We learned you have to have patience, patience, and appreciate what you have, and show love, that’s the most important thing... showing love," says Tim.

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