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Marine and Navy vet couple die on same day after 64 years of marriage

Navy veteran Carol Hughes and Marine veteran Jim Hughes passed away peacefully from different causes within hours of each other. (Photos courtesy of the Hughes family)

When Carol first met Jim Hughes, she wasn’t a fan.

But three months later, they got married. For 64 years, they were inseparable – even as they took their final breaths in their Colorado Springs home. Carol died first, then Jim about 16 hours later this past Saturday.

Carol was 83, and Jim was 85.

“We feel like it’s destiny they left together,” Connie O’Murray, the couple’s daughter, said Wednesday.

The story of Jim and Carol started during the fall of 1953. They were both living in Boston. Carol served in the Navy, and James was in the Marines. Carol’s roommate asked her to tag along on a date, and Jim’s friend asked him to do the same. That’s how they first met.

At first, she wasn’t interested.

“My mom thought he was a little rowdy,” O’Murray said. “She wasn’t into that. He must’ve turned on the charm because they met and married all in the same year.”

They made it official on Dec. 21, 1953. For 10 years, they lived in New Castle, Pa., where Carol was born and raised. It was miles and miles away from Gebo, Wyo., a coal mining town where Jim grew up.

They moved to Colorado Springs in 1963 after Jim accepted a position as a math teacher at Palmer High School. Carol was a stay-at-home mom, and later a librarian at Centennial Elementary School. They were members of the Presbyterian Church.

They retired in 1995.

Throughout the years, they were always together. They took their children and grandchildren on camping, hunting and fishing trips. They were together for their children’s big moments, like graduations and weddings.

He got into stained glass art and spent countless hours digging into his family’s genealogy. She, on the other hand, worked on a crossword puzzle every day and played tennis.

“He was kind of strong and she was kind of soft,” O’Murray said. “Over time, we realized he was really soft, too, and she was a really strong lady.”

But recently, their health was deteriorating.

Carol had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Jim was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, leukemia and a rare blood disorder. They had been in and out of hospice. But they got to spend their final six days together at their home, surrounded by family.

Their second oldest son, also named Jim, said his parents talked, laughed and held hands during this time, knowing they didn’t have long. The younger Jim and his brother Dave said Wednesday that their parents were known for treating people with respect and never leaving each other’s side.

“Jim and Carol have been inseparable for over six decades, and even death couldn’t keep them apart,” their obituary reads.

Their memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Evergreen Funeral Home, 1820 E. Fountain Blvd., Colorado Springs.


©2018 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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