Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Married 65 years, Leroy and Dorothy McLeod die 36 hours apart

Dorothy and Leroy McLeod of Plant City were married in 1946. Dorothy died Saturday at age 82. Leroy died Monday at age 87.

Courtesy of the McLeod family

Dorothy and Leroy McLeod of Plant City were married in 1946. Dorothy died Saturday at age 82. Leroy died Monday at age 87.

PLANT CITY — Leroy and Dorothy McLeod had always wanted to die together. It would solve the only problem associated with their marriage — the near certainty that one of them had to die first.

"When one of them got hurt," said granddaughter Melissa Brown, "the other would say, 'It's not time yet. We're supposed to go together.' "

They met as children in a Lakeland elementary school. The relationship had deepened by the time he left for the Army during World War II. In the Philippines, Mr. McLeod, a medic, took shrapnel out of his ankle.

He also found silver-colored metal and pounded out a bracelet for Dorothy Bray.

After their marriage in 1946, Mr. McLeod worked as a medical technologist for two area hospitals, then started his own laboratory.

His wife was the more talkative of the two. She helped him farm 3 acres of beans, sweet onions, mustard greens and green peanuts on their property.

Some of the produce wound up in her kitchen.

"You haven't eaten until you have eaten my mother's cooking," said Diane Weltzbarker, her daughter.

During a heart attack Mr. McLeod sustained in 1992, Mrs. McLeod urged him to fight on. Mr. McLeod recovered, then sold the laboratory to South Florida Baptist Hospital. They saw California and Oregon out the window of their motor home, and stood in the mist of Niagara Falls.

Eventually, they sold their tractor and scaled down the garden. Several years ago, Mrs. McLeod underwent an operation to put a stent in her heart. Her husband insisted she recover.

More recently, Mr. McLeod began to experience dementia and heart trouble. Mrs. McLeod remained mentally sharp, but broke her hip in a fall earlier this year. In October, her doctors found late-stage lung cancer.

She entered LifePath Hospice House on Dec. 1. Meanwhile, Mr. McLeod seemed to be undergoing increased swelling in his limbs.

On Dec. 8, after discussions with the family, hospice staff evaluated Mr. McLeod. "They asked the family, 'Is it okay if we keep him for the night?' " recalled Brown, 37.

"We said, 'Are you kidding me?' "

They even had a room available right next door.

On Saturday, Mrs. McLeod was unresponsive. Against medical advice, Mr. McLeod shuffled into her room using a walker.

"The next time I see you will be in heaven," he told her, according to family.

Mrs. McLeod died at 2:20 p.m. Saturday, her husband and family at her side. She was 82.

Mr. McLeod seemed confused after her death, asking if his wife was all right. But deep down he knew, said Judy Amlong, a LifePath nurse who cared for the couple.

"People who are devoted to each other for that period of time, they have an inner sense," Amlong said. "He knew she was gone, and he wanted to be with her.

"There was a lot of love (between them)," she added. Mr. McLeod died at 2:10 a.m. Monday, 36 hours after his wife. He was 87. A joint service and burial for Mr. and Mrs. McLeod will be held today at Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.

"Of course we're sad, losing them both," their granddaughter said. "But I think it really helps a lot knowing they were together, because that's the way they wanted it."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (727) 892-2248.


Leroy McLeod and Dorothy Bray McLeod

Born: May 11, 1924 (Mr. McLeod) and Feb. 7, 1929 (Mrs. McLeod)

Died: Dec. 12, 2011 (Mr. McLeod) and Dec. 10, 2011 (Mrs. McLeod)

Survivors: daughters Diane Weltzbarker and Tresea Taylor; son Roy McLeod; sister (to Mrs. McLeod) Myrle Turner; 10 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren.

Celebration of life: 11 a.m. today (visitation 10 a.m.), Hopewell Funeral Home, 6005 State Road 60.

Married 65 years, Leroy and Dorothy McLeod die 36 hours apart 12/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2011 8:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Unemployed with a pre-existing condition, Republican David Jolly came to see Obamacare as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108