El Reno couple dies from COVID-19 days apart, texted each other ‘I love you’ before going into coma


EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) – An El Reno family is grieving after losing two of their own to COVID-19 after a three-week battle in the hospital together.

Harriet and Virgil Whiteshirt were married for 45 years before dying from COVID-19 just three days apart.

“They are home, but they are just not here physically,” Alyssa Carlon said. “They are together. I didn’t think this was all that serious, but now losing both of them, I know it is.”

66-year-old Virgil and 62-year-old Harriett were both admitted to INTEGRIS Baptist in Oklahoma City on Aug. 21. Both were barely able to breathe.

Their niece, Alyssa Carlon, says she thought they would pull through.

“When they first got admitted, they were texting each other,” Carlon said. “They were saying ‘We are going to be fine. We are going to go home. We are going to get through this’. They also kept saying ‘I love you’.”

The texts eventually stopped when both of them took a turn for the worse. They were immediately hooked up to ventilators in the ICU for less than a week.

Virgil lost the fight first.

Within three days, Harriet took her last breath.

“We are all trying to stay strong for my nieces and nephews,” Carlon said.

The couple devoted their life to keeping their hands full and stepping up to help their family.

Five of their grandchildren lived with them under their El Reno roof. The oldest is 17-years-old.

“I don’t want them to worry about what is going to happen to them, ya know,” Carlon said.

Now Alyssa, a mom herself, is taking the children under her wing just as her aunt and uncle did for decades.

“I know they are no longer here, but I want to reassure them their grandkids are going to be taken care of,” Carlon said.

All of the children are safe and staying with family.

The Whiteshirt’s funeral is set for Saturday. Virgil Whiteshirt was prominent in the Oklahoma gaming community. He served eight years as the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes Gaming Commissioner.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage


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