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Real-life 'Notebook': Veteran dies after reuniting with wife, holding her hand at Jacksonville nursing home

The two had been separated following Florida's nursing home restrictions due to COVID-19. Biggerstaff's story is a familiar one for families across the nation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — You never know how precious time with loved ones is until it's gone.

Air Force Veteran, Colonel Dean Biggerstaff died just months after reuniting with his wife of 62 years. They had eight wonderful months together before he passed on. 

He was 85 years old.

The two had been separated following Florida's nursing home restrictions due to COVID-19. Biggerstaff's story is a familiar one for families across the nation. 

In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Biggerstaff was unable to see his wife in person at her Jacksonville nursing home. Restrictions were eased in Florida in September of 2020, allowing the pair to once again embrace but their reunion was short-lived.

Credit: FCN
Restrictions were eased in Florida in September of 2020, allowing the pair to once again embrace but their reunion was short-lived.

During an interview with First Coast News Biggerstaff shared his experience of seeing his wife in person, touching her hand and sharing a kiss for the first time in nearly six months. He described Inez Biggerstaff as breathtaking. 

"I didn't want to leave after being there for such a short period of time and after working so hard to get there," Biggerstaff said during his interview last year. "But rules are rules and I have to obey them if I want to continue seeing her. So I reluctantly obey."

Family members say the two were together every day over the past eight months, celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary on Jan. 24.

A photo of the two holding hands was taken on May 8. Two days later Biggerstaff left behind his beautiful bride.

Credit: FCN
A photo was taken of the two holding hands two days before he died.

The colonel’s memorial service will be held Tuesday, May 25 at 2 p.m. at the Hardage-Giddens Oaklawn Chapel in Jacksonville. 

The public is welcome to attend. There’s a special flyover planned for the decorated Air Force veteran's service.

Credit: FCN
He was a decorated Air Force veteran.