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Couple married more than 50 years dies holding on to each other in tornado

"When we found them, they had passed away together, holding on to each other," the couple's granddaughter said.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Eleven people have died in Muhlenberg County, northwest of Bowling Green after a tornado ripped through western Kentucky late Friday night. Family members confirmed that two of those 11 victims were a husband and wife, married for 50 years. 

Billy and Judy Miller had a love story that rivaled Hollywood.

"When he went off to Vietnam, they got married, but it wasn't the wedding she wanted," said granddaughter Serenity Miller.

The Marine returned and Serenity said they spent many decades cherishing their family. On their 50th wedding anniversary, Judy finally got the wedding she had dreamed of. 

"They went and she got the wedding that she wanted with all of us grandchildren. That there was everything to them," said Serenity.

Credit: Serenity Miller

After decades together, Serenity said the light never dimmed, "They grew really deep bonds after the loss of two of their children and that bond - I don't think anyone could break."

After the tornado hit, Serenity said she tried getting in contact with her grandparents early Saturday morning. She lived about 15 miles away and her parents five miles away.

It was already too late: the couple's home was reduced to dirt and cylinder blocks.

"They had passed away together, holding on to each other," said Serenity.

The family is grateful that at least the lovebirds were together. Now, they're trying to find anything from their life, most of it blown away. 

RELATED: Kentucky man finds photos that traveled 100 miles in Kentucky tornado; Wants to get them to owner

One item they did find was a miracle - Billy's Marine jacket, covered in mud. 

"Once I found it, I remember I broke down," said Serenity.

She said both he and Judy took a lot of pride in the jacket. A dry-cleaner in Owensboro has offered to clean it for free and people all over Kentucky and Indiana are finding pictures of the couple. 

"Their love was so deep for each other, we knew they wouldn't be able to survive without each other," said Serenity.

Their love story, living on in those they left behind. 

Credit: WHAS11
Billy and Judy Miller

Contact reporter Kristin Goodwillie at KGoodwillie@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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