Their grandson calls them the "best earthly example of what a marriage should look like."
James and Donna Eaton
Credit: Courtesy: Jake Hardy-Moore

James and Donna Eaton were married for 58 years when a powerful tornado ripped through their home in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, just after midnight Tuesday morning. They were sleeping side by side on their mattress when it was thrown from their bed. Jimmy, as he was known, would have celebrated his 85th birthday on Wednesday.

The couple’s home was in what authorities are calling the worst part of the damage.

"About as close as you can get," Mount Juliet Police Department Captain Tyler Chandler told The Tennessean.

Their grandson, Jake Hardy-Moore, told the newspaper that his grandparents were the “best earthly example of what a marriage should look like.”

“They showed Christ’s love and his sacrifice. They both loved our families through challenging times of life,” he said. "They were the ones we looked to when times were difficult, and they kept us pointed toward God and to be dependent on God."

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Jimmy and Donna were longtime members of First Baptist Church Mount Juliet, where they remained active until their deaths.

"The Eatons represented the very best of First Baptist," Pastor Phillip Dunn told The Tennessean. "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.”

Services are scheduled for noon Saturday at Green Hill Church, in Mount Juliet. A Celebration of Life will follow at 2 p.m.

Our hearts go out to friends and family of the Eatons as well as the entire Mount Juliet community.