Mt. Juliet tornado victims James and Donna Eaton were about as close as a couple could be in life and death.
A powerful tornado leveled the couple’s home on Catalpa Drive in Mt. Juliet, an area hard hit by Tuesday morning’s deadly storms.
James and Donna Eaton died side by side on a mattress thrown from their bed.
The Eatons were married for 58 years. Jimmy Eaton, as he was known, would have celebrated his 85th birthday on Wednesday.
“The best earthly example of what a marriage should look like,” said the couple’s 24-year-old grandson Jake Hardy-Moore. “They showed Christ’s love and his sacrifice. They both loved our families through challenging times of life.
“They were the ones we looked to when times were difficult, and they kept us pointed toward God and to be dependent on God.”
The Eatons were members of First Baptist Church Mt. Juliet for more than 40 years and remained active until their deaths.
James Eaton often visited hospitals with Pastoral Care & Senior Adult Pastor David Fallin. He helped with a church coffee bar on Sundays.
Donna Eaton, 81, was a retired business manager at First Baptist and continued to fill in as needed with office responsibilities, Fallin said.
“The Eatons represented the very best of First Baptist,” Pastor Phillip Dunn said. “To know them was to love them. They carried with them a happy spirit, and their love for their church family was a model to all of us.
“To know that they were taken from us so quickly in a storm shocks all of us. We can also rest assured that Jim and Donna loved Christ and woke up with their faith becoming sight.”
Raw Drone Video Of Tennessee Tornado Damage
A drone captured the damage from a tornado to home in Mount Juliet, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville. the twister killed multiple people.