(KXAS/NBC NEWS) — There is shock in one Texas community after a man and his wife died after complications from the coronavirus.
Rose Mary and Paul Blackwell passed away moments apart, in the hospital, side by side.
On the Fannin Middle Campus, Coach Paul Blackwell was often one of the first people that students see when they walked in the door each morning.
Principal Roberto Lopez said, “He stood in an area where he was able to greet all of the students on campus to say good morning to them, hi to them.”
A coach of football, basketball and track Blackwell’s presence was felt both on and off the field.
Eighth Grade Football CaptainVicente Vasquez said, “He was a coach who inspired a lot of us students and encouraged us even if we wanted to give up and always wanted us to do our best.”
Paul’s wife, Rose Mary was the longest tenured teacher at Travis World Language Academy in Grand Prairie where she has taught bilingual education for the past 20 years. But just a few days before Thanksgiving, she tested positive for COVID and the decline for both of them came quickly.
Sister Jane Ortiz said, “They were bad, their chills, I said, call an ambulance.”
For the couple’s two sons, news of their parents’ illnesss hit especially hard.
Shawn Blackwell said, “That was our mom and dad. They were the best parents in the world, the best parents in the world, I will tell you that.”
Both Paul and Rose Mary declined quickly when the boys asked to join their parents in their hospital room while other family members joined via Zoom to say goodbye.
Ortiz said, “Exactly when my mother gave her blessing and we were all done talking to them and they were gone, five minutes later they were gone.”
Now the Blackwell’s family members hope others will see how important it is to take the virus seriously.
Brandon Blackwell said, “It’s real and it hit home and it hit us and I just want everybody out there to know that you need to do your part, or you’re going to end up being in the same position as us with your loved one or yourself.”
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