For 50 years, Ginger and Malcolm Combs were inseparable. Sunday, the couple did one last thing together.
Ginger and Malcolm Combs, each 74 years old, died. Ginger died first, around 11 a.m. Malcolm died a few hours later around 7 p.m.
They were at home in the Sun City community of Indian Land in Lancaster County, after weeks of hospice care.
“God took my mother first so she could come back and take his hand and take him with her,” said Tim Combs of Fort Mill, one of the couple’s two children. “It was God’s plan for them to live together and die together and be together forever.”
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If there ever was a storybook romance that was real life, it was Malcolm and Ginger Combs.
The couple were both from High Point, N.C., but attended different high schools. They met when Malcolm was bagging groceries at a store after high school. Ginger, already working for Wachovia bank, went through the checkout line with a few items.
Nobody remembers what was in those bags. What they remember is the love that bloomed.
“It was love at first sight,” Tim Combs said.
The couple had two children, Tim and Jill, and later seven grandchildren. Malcolm ran a food service business for decades while Ginger worked in banking. They traveled to Asia, Africa and other places -- together.
They did almost everything together.
“They were a team, always with each other,” said Torie Combs, Tim Combs’ wife. “Their love was inspirational.”
The couple lived in North Carolina until 2016 when Malcolm was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, a degenerative brain disorder. They moved to Sun City, a community for people older than age 55 just south of Charlotte, to be closer to family.
“My mother took care of him and loved him,” Tim Combs said.
Ginger Combs was a three-time cancer survivor, but a fourth bout with cancer left her weakened, her son said.
The last three weeks, Ginger and Malcolm Combs were under hospice care. Malcolm, in a wheelchair, would sit for hours at his wife’s bedside.
“He’d cry and tell her how much he loved her,” Tim Combs said. “She would say, ‘I love you, too.’”
Family members said the lives, lived together, filled with joy and love, ended together as the couple would have wanted.
“Together,” Torie Combs said.
The family will have a single funeral service March 22 at Wolfe Funeral Home in Fort Mill. Then the couple will be buried together at Olive Grove Baptist Church cemetery in Pinnacle, N.C.
“They loved each other,” Tim Combs said. “What they had was a real-life love story that ended together, too.”