‘A story of love’: Elderly couple dying of COVID spend final moments holding hands

A suburban family is mourning the death of their parents – but also celebrating a love that lasted right up to the end. 

David and Sondra Zorn both died a few days apart earlier this month, at ages 89 and 83. 

The couple of 64 years were hospitalized at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove after contracting COVID-19. 

Patients don't typically share rooms, but staff at the hospital made it work. 


"It’s a story of love; it’s a story of commitment; it’s a story of how everyone at the hospital went above and beyond," said Wilkins, who shared two photos of her parents’ joined hands to those who helped her family at Good Samaritan – the first from their wedding day and the second from their final day together. 

That photo and the Zorns’ story comforts those who took care of them, said their nurse, Erin Stafford. 

"Throughout this pandemic there have been many sad moments. It’s hard for us to deal with everything," Stafford said, adding she keeps the photo handy and looks at it to remind her of the fact that this couple was able to be together in their final moments. 

"I’ll remember this even though it’s sad because we helped them be together and to hold hands and say goodbye," she said. "I have this picture to help me through the bad shifts, to remind me why I became a nurse." 

On Good Day Chicago, Stafford said, "The love that they share is something you don't see all the time." 

Patient relations specialist Johnny Gillespie remembers the family fondly, always looking for a way to accommodate visitor restrictions and other COVID-19 precautions that put a strain on families. 

"I try to be their eyes and ears if they can’t be here," he said. The Zorn children were able to visit their parents in their final moments.