COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Many people are feeling the strain of COVID-19, but a Collierville family is getting a double dose of devastating news.
Suzanne and Richard Bretherick, ages 73 and 74, died within days of each other, both from COVID-19. They would have celebrated 50 years of marriage next year.
Their family is working on a legacy to keep their memory alive.
“They were some of the most genuine, giving people we’ve ever met,” their son Matthew Bretherick said. “They were very happily married. They did everything together. Mom drove dad everywhere. His eyesight was getting a little bit bad, but they literally did everything together.”
But last month Suzanne, who had other health issues, was diagnosed with COVID-19. Then Richard, a day later.
“They were always together and, unfortunately, the virus went around the house pretty quickly,” son Ricky Bretherick said. “Mom was admitted on the 17th, I think, and dad on the 18th of October.”
Over the next 23 days the family was torn apart. With both of them COVID positive, family couldn’t see them in the hospital, and they couldn’t see each other.
The Brethericks died 12 days apart.
“That was the tough part, losing them both together like that,” Ricky said.
But their family is determined to not let COVID steal their parents’ legacy. The have set up a memorial fund to continue their acts of service.
Suzanne was a 34-year teacher at Magnolia Elementary. Richard was a devoted Collierville coach.
After their passing, the Collierville football program even held a special salute to the couple.
The family is creating three scholarships to help a Magnolia School student, a dance student and a Collierville football player go to college or trade school.
“Those were their passions, you know, whether it be mom with her students, dad with those sports teams, and then both of them together with the dancers,” Ricky said. “That was really what they really spent time doing.”
Their initial goal was $500 for scholarships. But with community support they have already raised $5,000.
They are also supporting charitable organizations including The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree to honor their parents.
“To be able to continue that legacy without really thinking about why they’re not with us anymore, but more of why they live is really what I, what we, want to focus on,” Ricky said.
You can support their memorial fund for student scholarships at any Renasant Bank, or by going to bretherickmemorialfund.com.