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Ga. couple married for 58 years dies from COVID-19 four days apart

Updated: Jan. 27, 2021 at 11:29 PM EST
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MIDLAND, Ga. (WTVM) - Jimmy and Cile Harrison spent the last 58 years of their lives married only to be separated by death four days apart.

A Midland family is remembering their loved ones after they recently died from COVID-19.

“I will never look at COVID the same way again. For sure, that’s the first thing. It’s real. It’s real and it effects you and people need to be more aware of that. It’s not a joke,” said Joanna Turner who lost both of her parents to coronavirus.

Turner, her husband, daughter, son and two parents, who lived with her, were exposed to COVID-19 on New Year’s Day. Turner says the virus impacted them all differently.

“My parents suffered the most. It was extremely sad and painful to watch them suffer and this disease took them from me. And had it not been for COVID, I believe they would be here a long time,” Turner tearfully explained.

Turner’s mom, 76-year-old Cile Harrison, died Dec. 30.

“My mom had congestive heart failure, and so it just literally attacked her,” Turner said.

Four days later, Turner’s dad, Jimmy Harrison, passed away. He would have been 81 on Saturday.

“He had the beginnings of dementia and he went from stage one of dementia to the final stages within five days because of COVID. It just accelerated the process,” she said.

Part of his legacy is a talent that runs in the family. He was a music minister in the Chattahoochee Valley for 44 years.

“My dad had a beautiful voice and my mom and dad would sing together and that’s how they met,” Turner said.

Music forged a bond between Jimmy and Cile Harrison that lead to 58 years of marriage, three children, and five grandkids.

When he wasn’t singing, Turner’s dad also made beautiful music in other ways.

“He worked at Sears for 46 years, but he also was the voice of Friday night lights at Kinnett Stadium. When I was growing up, he did the announcing,” said Turner.

Turner says they’ll continue to keep her parents’ music alive and remember the life they gave them.

“Now, they’re singing in heaven,” Turner said.

Turner’s oldest daughter, Nolee, is in Navy Boot Camp at Great Lakes in Illinois and ended up having COVID-19 at the same time as her family back home in Georgia. Turner says her dad served four years in the Navy, so Nolee left for boot camp in September to honor him.

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