Tuesday 24 October 2017

Six children orphaned after parents die 24 hours apart

Toby and Jennifer died within 24 hours of one another
Toby and Jennifer died within 24 hours of one another

Peter Holey

The death of a parent is a traumatic enough experience for any child to endure but the Norsworthy family had to deal with the death of both of their parents in separate incidents in just 24 hours

When Jennifer Norsworthy was unexpectedly killed by a blood clot in the early morning on April 22, her family was devastated.

The 40-year-old mother of six left behind a devoted, grief-stricken husband, according to CBS affiliate WHNT.

“Toby loved Jennifer,” Ricky Self, anpastor at the couple’s church, told the station. “She was his world and he was heartbroken when she passed away.”

The grief was so traumatizing for Toby Norsworthy, his family believe, that it was a major factor in his own death 24 hours later when he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Family members think the stress of his wife’s death was ultimately too much for him to bear. Tragically, his sister said, the same doctor and nurse ended up working to save the lives of each parent at the hospital.

Norsworthy was 38.

“Toby was a very selfless person,” Leslie Plunkett, a childhood friend told the paper. “He adored his wife and absolutely loved each and every one of the children.” “He always put community, friends, family and church first.”

With Jennifer and Toby suddenly gone, family members have turned their attention to the couple’s children, ages 6 to 20. They have traveled to the family’s home in Harvest, Ala., — just outside Huntsville — from as far away as Maine, California and Alaska, the Times reported.

“The three oldest — Quinten, 20, Riley, 17, and Bradley, 13 — are from Jennifer’s previous marriage, the paper reported. The three youngest are Mickey, 11, Aurora, 9, and Lainie, 6.

Tabitha Washburn, Toby Norsworthy’s sister, told the Times that the couple met in Alaska  in 2003. They married three years later.

The family eventually settled in Huntsville and Toby took a job as a computer programer, the Times reported, while his wife devoted herself to raising their growing family.

They were active members of Pineview Baptist Church, in Harvest, Self said.

He told WHNT that the church is also accepting donations on behalf of the family.

“Trying to raise as much money as we possibly can for them for unexpected things that may come up, like college,” Self said, according to WHNT. “They were such a big part of our life and part of our family and so we feel like it’s our job to help in any way we possibly can financially, spiritually, whatever that may be.”

He added: “Right now, it’s painful and it hurts, but one day we will be able to see them again and that’s what we’re hanging our hats on.”

Independent News Service

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