Death did them part too soon.
Bride Johnnie Mae Davis became a wife and a widow “within a 10-minute span” when her groom, Toraze Davis, suddenly died of a fatal blood clot mere moments after their June 19 nuptials.
“Toraze suffered from a medical event that was not survivable,” wedding guest Jewel Roberson told CBS affiliate KCCI News in Des Moines, Iowa.
“His heart stopped for the first time at 4:35 p.m. — just an hour after the ceremony had begun,” said Roberson, adding that Toraze’s untimely demise occurred, “In a second. It happened within seconds.”
Toraze Davis was 48.
His and Johnnie Mae’s children, parents, family and their friends were in attendance for the happy-turned-harrowing occasion.
The Davis’, from Omaha, Nebraska, reportedly chose to tie the knot on Juneteenth in honor of the holiday, and in celebration of Johnnie Mae’s grandmother’s birthday.
Friends said the couple had been looking forward to merrymaking on their big day after recently suffering two consecutive losses, including the death of Johnnie Mae’s father.
“It was the happiest day of Toraze’s life. I could just see the smile on his face and how happy he was,” said Monica Miller, who works with Johnnie Mae at ECO Supportive Living — a compassionate care facility for senior citizens and people with disabilities in Omaha.
“It [was] just his energy,” Miller continued of Toraze. “I just knew that he was just, it was a great day for him.”
In the wake of his passing, Miller launched a $100,000 GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of accruing, “burial expenses for Toraze and money to help the new bride with their children,” per the website.
The crowdfunding initiative has amassed just over $21,000 as of Monday.
“We really want to stress that we want to be able to take care of her and let her the marriage and nurture her children and ourselves,” Miller told KCCI.
“At ECO Supportive Living, our motto is that we treat our clients like family. Johnnie Mae is a true living example of what that means. [She] goes above and beyond for the elderly and disabled population that we serve,” Miller said, in part. “I just really want the community and all of us to just support her in the same way that she does on a daily basis.”
And Roberson agreed.
“Johnnie Mae has suffered through so much and she’s just such a loving person,” she said.
“Some of the work that Johnnie Mae has done in the community through her own efforts include mentoring early entrepreneurs through the stages of business ownership and financial literacy.”
Roberson continued, “Johnnie Mae has dedicated her life to helping others, specifically aiming to protect the most vulnerable members. [Her] everyday life at ECO Living consists of managing the care network of support for the elderly and disabled.”
She hopes the monies raised will be allotted towards the upkeep of Johnnie Mae’s home.
“She’s been widowed and married in a 10-minute span,” said Roberson. “She’s going to need lawn services. She’s going to need snow removal when the winter comes.”
Sadly, Toraze now joins the growing number of beloveds who’ve died on their wedding day.
Wisconsin bride-to-be Paige Ruddy endured a deadly brain hemorrhage from smoke inhalation during a house fire just before getting hitched in May.
And South Carolina wife Samantha “Sam” Hutchinson, 34, lost her life after being struck by a drunk driver moments after leaving her wedding reception on April 28.
In Toraze’s case, friend Tonja Ross, a nurse, said his catastrophic end should prompt folks to prioritize their health.
“Every second, minute you take it seriously,” urged Ross. “You try to keep your health together so you can have more happy times and your life won’t get cut short like this.”
“Not all medical emergencies are preventable. However, some may be,” said the healthcare worker.
“It is important to keep being active in your health, so your happiest day does not turn into the most devastating day of your life or your loved ones’ life,” Ross implored.