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‘We were soulmates’: Des Moines Woman Remembers Husband Lost to COVID-19

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Marcia and Gayle Isaac were together for 54 years.

“We met on a blind date and I guess it stuck,” said Marcia.

They grew up in Des Moines. He went to Tech. She went to East High. “We talked every night on the phone,” said Marcia.

On the weekends, they enjoyed bowling and going to the drive-in. “He was just fun. We had a good time together. We had some of the same likes,” said Marcia.

Four years later, Marcia and Gayle, who was better known as “Muggs,” were married. In 1968, Muggs joined the Navy. Marcia wrote him a letter every day. When he got out, the couple returned to Des Moines, where they raised two children. Marcia says not a day went by that Muggs didn’t tell her how much he loved her.

“He’d say ‘I love you. You don’t know how much joy you bring to my life and I can’t imagine living without you,’” said Marcia.

In March, they took their 14th cruise together. The morning they got off the ship, Muggs told Marcia he didn’t feel well. By the time they got home, he was seriously ill. A day later, he was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.

“They wouldn’t let me in because they suspected he had COVID-19. The last time I saw him was when he got in the ambulance. The last time I touched him was when I put his socks on,” said Marcia.

Eight days later, Marcia made the decision to remove the ventilator. 

“I said, ‘honey I will be all right. The kids will take care of me. I don’t want you to go, but if you have to, I will be OK,’” said Marcia.   

The reality is still settling in for her. Marcia says she still expects to see him sitting in his chair.

“Just hearing him tell me he loves me. We were best friends, we were soulmates, we were companions. It was just truly a once-in-a lifetime,” said Marcia.


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