Married Texas teachers die from COVID-19 in hospital while holding hands with their children

Paul Blackwell, 62, and Rose Mary Blackwell, 65, died Sunday at Harris Methodist Hospital

Married Texas teachers die from COVID-19 in hospital (Image credit: Grand Prairie Independent School District) (Video credit: CNN Newsource)

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – A Texas couple, both teachers and married for 30 years, died from COVID-19 complications while holding each other’s hands and the hands of their children in the hospital.

Paul Blackwell, 62, and Rose Mary Blackwell, 65, died Sunday after spending two weeks in the ICU at Harris Methodist Hospital, according to a report from CNN.

The Blackwells were teachers at the Grand Prairie Independent School District in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Rose taught second grade and was the longest-tenured teacher at the Travis World Language Academy. Paul taught PE and was a football coach at Fannin Middle School, according to GPISD.

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of two GPISD staff members after a courageous battle with COVID-19....

Posted by Grand Prairie ISD on Monday, December 14, 2020

The couple was diagnosed with the coronavirus in December. Both eventually became hospitalized, and after just several days, the family was faced with the difficult decision to take them off of life support.

The Blackwells’ son, Shawn, interviewed with CNN and said it was the only option left.

“Doctors said they hadn’t seen any progression at all, and they were slowly declining in their overall vital functions,” Shawn Blackwell told CNN. “It got to the point where it was very far gone and that there was nothing else they could do.”

“Me and my brother came to the conclusion to let them go at peace together. They were together and holding hands. My brother and I were both holding my parent’s hands as well, so all four of us were holding each other’s hands as they were both removed from the ventilator.”

The school district said Monday on social media that it would have counselors on both school campuses this week to provide support for staff and students.

“Rose Mary and Paul will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, friends, co-workers, and students both current and former,” the school district said.

The Blackwells left behind four children and 20 grandchildren, CNN reports.

“I just want people to know I am proud of the people my mom and dad were and proud of the things they accomplished,” Shawn Blackwell told CNN. “They were the definition of the greatest parents and grandparents ever.”

You can read CNN’s full story on the Blackwells here.

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About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.