This undated photo provided by the couple's daughter Sarah Milewski shows Bill and Esther Ilnisky.
Bill and Esther Ilnisky spent nearly seven decades together as Christian ministers and missionaries, including stints in the Caribbean and Middle East before preaching for 40 years in Florida.
They complemented each other — he the bookworm, she outgoing and charismatic. One without the other seemed unthinkable.
So when they died minutes apart of COVID-19 this month at a Palm Beach County hospice, it may have been a hidden blessing, their only child, Sarah Milewski, said — even if it was a devastating double loss for her. Her father was 88, her mom 92. Their 67th wedding anniversary would have been this weekend.
"It is so precious, so wonderful, such a heartwarming feeling to know they went together,” Milewski said, then adding, "I miss them.”
Bill Ilnisky grew up in Detroit, deciding at 16 to devote his life to God, Milewski said. He headed to Central Bible College, an Assemblies of God school in Springfield, Missouri. He preached at nearby churches and needed a piano player. Friends suggested Esther Shabaz, a fellow student from Gary, Indiana. They fell in love.
Bill and Esther Ilnisky. File photo
"When my dad proposed, he told her, ‘Esther, I can’t promise you wealth, but I can promise you lots of adventure,'” Milewski said. "She had a lot, a lot of adventure.”
After graduation and their wedding, Bill Ilnisky opened churches in the Midwest. In the late-1950s, the Ilniskys took congregants to Jamaica for a mission, fell in love with the island, and stayed on to run a church in Montego Bay for a decade.
It was during that time they adopted Milewski, then 2, from a Miami foster home. In 1969, the family moved from Jamaica to Lebanon, where Bill Ilnisky ministered to college students and taught. His wife started an outreach center and had a Christian rock band.
"At that time, Lebanon was an amazing country — gorgeous,” Milewski said.
When the pandemic hit last year, the couple took precautions, Milewski said. Her mother stayed home and had groceries delivered, but Bill Ilnisky occasionally went out. "He couldn't take it,” his daughter said. "He needed to be around people.”
Sarah Milewski and her husband visited her parents on Valentine's Day, her mother's birthday. A few days later, her mom became ill, and not long after the couple were diagnosed with the virus and hospitalised.
While the prognosis was initially good, the disease overtook them. The decision was made Feb.27 to put them in hospice. Jacqueline Lopez-Devine, chief clinical officer at Trustbridge hospice, said in her 15 years working with the dying, no couple had arrived together. She said there was no hesitation about putting them in the same room for their final days.
Because of the virus, Milewski said her goodbyes through a window, a microphone carrying "I love you” to her parents' bedside. They looked like they did when sleeping, her father lying on the right side, her mother facing him.
He would nod as Milewski spoke; her mom tried to speak but couldn't. "It was horrible,” Milewski said.
At 10:15am on March 1, Esther Ilnisky died. Fifteen minutes later, her husband followed. "They were always, always together,” Milewski said. "So in sync.”
The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.
Shortages of critical equipment led to fierce competition among buyers from Europe, the US and elsewhere. A regional leader in Paris described the scramble to find masks a “worldwide treasure hunt.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that New York could run out of ventilators in six days.
The health ministry said 4,313 people who tested positive for the virus in hospital had died as of 1600 GMT Friday while there were 41,903 confirmed cases as of 0800 GMT Saturday, up 3,735.
The shooters claimed that the woman wanted to marry her cousin Waqas, brother of Abbas, who was living in Italy but her brother opposed it. According to the report, the brother wanted her sister to marry a well-educated person, but she refused.
Several infrastructure projects and emissions from nearby refineries were the possible reasons, said a government official who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
"I think it's very exciting that the UAE, an OPEC member, is going to host COP28, and it's so important that you have an oil and gas producing nation step up and say we understand the challenge of the climate crisis,” Kerry told Reuters in an interview.