Wife of WWII vet, known for viral ‘emotional drive-thru’ video, passes away

Baker County couple went viral in May

Baker County couple reunite from afar after more than 2 months apart.

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. – This couple’s reunion out of Baker County made international headlines, reaching as far as a news outlet in Pakistan, after News4Jax posted this video in May 2020. It shows W.D. Brinson and Faye Brinson during a short drive-thru reunion during the pandemic.

The couple, who was married for more than 72 years, had not seen each other for two months due to Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on visitors in Florida nursing homes due to rising COVID-19 cases.

[ ORIGINAL STORY: Emotional drive-thru reunion for WWII vet, wife separated by pandemic ]

News4Jax spoke with the couple’s granddaughter, Tabatha, who explained the two were living separately since Faye required extra care. The distance, though, never kept them far apart. Tabatha says before the pandemic, every morning W.D. would wake up and go spend the day with his wife, only returning home for meals and to sleep.

It’s why their reunion in May was so special to W.D. and Faye. Tabatha said her grandparents received a flood of letters and cards from people who had seen their story.

“It made them so happy. Those cards and notes were so special to both of them. They kept every single one of them and it brought them both so much happiness and really helped them through the loneliness of being apart,” she said.

When News4Jax first checked-in for an update, we learned life was getting back to normal for the couple. Limitations on visitors at nursing homes had been relaxed. W.D. had been able to see Faye for an hour once a week since late October. Tabatha says he never once missed a visit.

In early December, Faye’s health took a bad turn, requiring her to be hospitalized, but there was a silver lining. Visiting rules were different at the hospital so W.D. and Faye were able to see each other every day all day. Then, the family received word Faye tested positive for COVID-19 and the visits had to stop.

By mid-December, Faye was recovering and improving from COVID-19, but unfortunately, she passed away from an unrelated issue in the hospital the day after Christmas.

The family says they are heartbroken, none more than W.D. who said Faye was his life and he loved her more than anything in this world.

Faye was 89. She will be laid to rest in Jacksonville Monday. In lieu of flowers, W.D. is asking for donations to be made to Frank Wells Nursing Home in Macclenny with “in remembrance Faye Brinson” notated. W.D. said the nursing home staff treated them like family and took excellent care of Faye for years.

Tabatha hopes her grandparents’ love story will inspire others to take on what their family has been learning from the couple all this time.

“They showed us what true marriage and true love really is.”

Rest In Peace, Faye.

The family invites you to view Faye’s obituary here.

Emotional drive-thru reunion for WWII vet, wife separated by pandemic

GRAB THE TISSUES!😭♥️ After 72 years of marriage, one Baker County couple wouldn’t even let a nationwide pandemic keep them apart. W.D. Brinson, a World War II veteran, has not been able to see his wife’s face for more than two months. His granddaughter drove him to see her today. His reaction was one they will never forget. https://bit.ly/35HJ09e

Posted by WJXT4 The Local Station / News4JAX on Friday, May 8, 2020

About the Authors:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.