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Don Woodard: Joined in love and service, two lives end too soon

🕐 2 min read

Two hundred and fifty years ago English poet Edward Young wrote a long poem entitled Night Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality.

Two lines from that poem bespeak absolute truth:

How sad a sight is human happiness

To those whose thought can pierce beyond an hour.

As Cathy and Darrell Hirt, prominent in Fort Worth’s political, civic and medical affairs, were fixing to come home after a happy visit to Hungary, Cathy’s ancestral country, their lives suddenly ended in an horrific traffic crash far, far away from home. The two had been traveling through Europe for two weeks on a vacation that included time in Prague and Vienna before a final stop in Budapest, where Cathy’s parents had lived, to see relatives. They were on their way back to the hotel when the taxi they were riding in collided with a truck, killing Cathy and Darrell and the taxi driver.

An excerpt from their Star-Telegram obituary tells a poignant story of how they met:

“Cathy and Darrell met in Nashville in 1986 while volunteering at the St. Peter’s homeless shelter. Their meeting symbolizes their service-oriented lives. Darrell was cooking for the residents and decided to make an extra-complicated, extra-special version of Texas chili. Cathy, ever an efficient doer, told Darrell to hurry up so that everyone could eat. Darrell kindly responded that he’d take his time, since “just because they’re homeless doesn’t mean they can’t eat like kings.”

Cathy said she fell in love with him on the spot. Cathy and Darrell started dating shortly after, and happily on May 30, 1987, they married.”

Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare, another great English poet, wrote these lines (slightly altered) in his immortal tragedy-love story about two young lovers named Romeo and Juliet.

And when they shall die,

Take them and cut them out in little stars,

And they will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Cathy and Darrell Hirt. These two glittering stars will appear no more on the cover of a Saturday Evening Post. Farewell to our own Norman Rockwell Romeo and Juliet. How sad.

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