Wednesday, March 3, 2021

couple married 33 years dies

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Ernest “Ronald” and Ann Wilkins shared a deep love and connection through their 33 of marriage all the way up until the they died — just a single day apart — from complications of -19.

“Very heartbroken because I loved Ann and Ronald—just like my brother and sister and I want people to this serious,” One of Ronald’s close friends, Bryan told WRTV.

Bryan said those who knew Ernest best, called him Ronald.

Ronald, born in 1954, was raised a Hoosier. He attended Indianapolis Public School #43, which is where Bryan said the two first met as students.

Close friends, the two would talk every day on the phone. Most days, several times a day.

“And that’s what we thought of each other… you know that we were brothers — we did everything together,” Bryan said. “We talked 10 times a day. If I woke-up first in the morning, I’d call him. If he’d wake-up first he’d call me. We talked 10 times a day.”

Ronald went on to graduate from Shortridge High School in 1972 and then studied at Ball State University.

Ronald played trumpet in school as well as football. Music and sports, two things Bryan said his friend loved.

After college, Ronald held multiple jobs, and eventually retired after working at Allstate Insurance for 12 years.

Ann was raised in Michigan and graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit in 1979 before attending Butler University in Indiana.

Ann was a teacher with Indianapolis Public Schools for 13 years and worked for many years with the Indiana State Teachers Association and Indiana Education Association. Bryan said she was always promoting public school education.

“She (was) deeply committed to her profession and her fellow educators,” IPS Superintendent Alessia Johnson said of Ann. “I think what did well was holding everyone to account, because at the end of the day her goal was kids were getting served as well.”

Johnson said she took the photo below after they learned she and Ann shared a birthday on May 14.

were already making plans for 2021 — which included getting the vaccine as soon as it was available to them.

But the couple didn’t make it that far.

They were both diagnosed with -19 in December and admitted to Saint Vincent Hospital. Eventually, they were both placed on ventilators.

They never got to leave the hospital.

Ronald died on Friday, January 8. Ann died just one day later on Saturday, January 9.

Seeing firsthand the devastation that can come from COVID-19, Bryan hopes his friend’s death serves a stark message about the importance of the vaccine.

“I would rather you have a reaction to the vaccine than COVID the disease because a lot of time –you won’t win,” Bryan said. “It’s real. I’ve seen it for myself. It’s something I don’t want to see again.”

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