Society

96-Year-Old Virginia Man Dies After Stepdaughter Separates Him From His Wife

| by Jared Keever
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An elderly Virginia man died just weeks after his wife’s daughter separated the couple and moved her mom to Florida. 

Eddie Harrison, 95, and his wife, 96-year-old Edith Hill, were longtime companions, but were only formally married last year.

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CBS News reports Harrison died of complications from influenza on Dec. 30 while staying in a hospital near his Alexandria, Virginia home. 

Rebecca Wright, one of Hill’s daughters, lived with, and cared for, the couple. She said Harrison had grown distressed after her sister, Patricia Barber, took her mom to live near her in Florida. 

“He lived for her, and she lived for him. It's the love story of the century," Wright said.

But Barber did not feel the same. She contested the elderly couple’s marriage, saying Hill was incapacitated by dementia and that the marriage would only complicate the distribution of her belongings after her death. 

Wright said her mother was not incapacitated at all.

After a legal dispute, a judge removed Barber and Wright as guardians of their mother and appointed an impartial conservator. The judge left the marriage intact, but that couldn’t stop Barber from moving her mom to Florida. 

Barber originally took Hill south for what she said was a two-week vacation. 

Wright said police had to be called to the home to mediate a 40-minute altercation while Barber tried to convince Hill to come with her. 

When Hill didn’t return after the two weeks, Harrison grew upset and realized his wife was probably not coming back. 

The conservator said Harrison was welcome to join his wife in an assisted living facility in Florida. But Harrison told WUSA News, shortly before he died, that he had no intention of moving south. He said Hill had not wanted to go either. 

“I've never been on a plane before in my life and I'm 95 years old and I didn't want to go and she [Hill] didn’t want us to go,” Harrison said. “I was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia and I lived there all my life and she [Hill] was born in Virginia and she's lived in Virginia all of her life.”

Friends say Harrison was heartbroken after he came to accept that Hill would not return to Virginia. 

“I want my wife back, I want her back home with me. She didn't want to go and I didn't want her to go,” he said in an interview earlier in December. 

He continued to live with Wright until he checked himself into the hospital.

Barber and Wright are still disputing their mother’s affairs and place of residence. 

Sources: CBS NewsWUSA News / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons