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Wilma Gail Bowen, 70, and her husband Willard Daniel Bowen, 73, died on Thanksgiving after 50 years of marriage

By Gabrielle Chung
December 02, 2020 11:17 PM
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Wilma Gail Bowen and Willard Daniel Bowen
Credit: Hightower Memorial

A family in Georgia is in mourning after losing two parents to the novel coronavirus on the same day.

Wilma Gail Bowen, 70, and her husband Willard Daniel Bowen, 73, died on Thanksgiving after 50 years of marriage, according to their respective obituaries.

The couple, who had known each other since high school, died just hours apart while hospitalized for COVID-19, their daughter Karen Bowen Kirby told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bowen Kirby said her mother "gave up" after it became apparent that her father was going to die, telling the publication, "She wasn't going to live without my daddy."

The matriarch, who went by Gail, worked as a licensed practical nurse for many years before joining the Paulding County School System upon her retirement, her obituary stated. She was working as a nurse at Hiram Elementary School when she died.

"She loved her babies," Bowen Kirby told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "She would do anything to make sure they were taken care of."

In a letter sent to parents on Saturday, the school district said that Hiram Elementary School would be closed through Wednesday and switched to remote learning after COVID-19 infections over the Thanksgiving break caused "a large number" of staff and student quarantines, the outlet reported.

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Kirby Bowen said she does not know where either of her parents contracted coronavirus. According to her, the family had just buried her grandmother, who also had COVID-19, on Nov. 11.

A representative for the Paulding County School District did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

In his obituary, Willard was described as a retired foreman for the Austell Box Board who has a passion for "antique junk." Like his wife, he was a member of Poplar Springs Baptist Church.

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