A couple who had been married for 58 years sadly died side-by-side this week, after a tornado tore through their home in Tennessee.
James and Donna Eaton, who lived in Mt. Juliet, a suburb of Nashville, were at home when the tornado hit on Tuesday morning, March 3. The couple’s mattress was reportedly thrown from their bed, and their house levelled, as the twister moved through the town. The tornado was the second deadliest in Tennessee’s history, according to state officials, killing at least 24 people.
The Eatons had been residents of Mt. Juliet for a number of years. James ‘Jimmy’ Eaton would’ve turned 85 on Wednesday, March 4. Mt. Juliet Police Department Captain Tyler Chandler said the couple were ‘about as close as you can get’.
Speaking to the Tennessean, James and Donna’s 24-year-old grandson Jake Hardy-Moore said they were ‘the best earthly example of what a marriage should look like’.
Devout members of the First Baptist Church Mt. Juliet for more than 40 years, Pastor Phillip Dunn said ‘the Eatons represented the very best of First Baptist’. He added: ‘To know that they were taken from us so quickly in a storm shocks all of us.’
According to Captain Chandler, the tornado wrecked havoc within the city limits for seven to eight minutes, and also killed a warehouse worker named Brandy Barker.
I personally continue to drive through the damaged areas and see how everyone has a great attitude and come together to help each other.
Sometimes it takes a major incident to bring a community together, and our community has always had a strong bond but this has brought us even closer.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating tornado.
Further information on the response to the tornado in Mt. Juliet can be found here.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.