LUBBOCK, Texas — If you’ve ever been to Ivey Gardens Greenhouse, you know how beautiful their plants are. It’s a part of the legacy of owners Glen and Gale Ivey that’s known all over West Texas.
“Everything that they did in their life, their passion was here. They loved this greenhouse, probably more than anything that they had ever done,” said Mark Ivey, their son.
Glen and Gale Ivey were married for 67 years, and they were pillars of the South Plains community, running a number of businesses in addition to the greenhouse and serving in their church. After years of health problems, they both contracted COVID-19 in early October.
Glen died on October 5, and Gale died on October 9. For 67 years, they were inseparable, and they died just four days apart.
But their love story spans nearly seven decades. It begins in Plainview, TX, in the 50s, and it actually wasn’t love at first sight.
“Glen was asking her if she wanted his autograph like all the others girls in Plainview because he had just finished with a show, and she said she didn’t like country music,” said Anne Ivey, Mark’s wife and daughter-in-law of Glen and Gale.
In 1952, Glen was sent to fight in Korea, serving on the frontlines as an army medic. In his downtime, he sang for the troops. When he came back, he performed as a country western singer, even appearing in a movie. But that didn’t impress the former Miss Plainview at first.
“I think my dad had to chase my mother,” Mark said.
The couple was married in September 1954, and they had two children, five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. In life, they promised to follow each other anywhere, and they made good on that promise — even in death.
“They loved their life together, and I think they were ready to end it together,” Mark said.
They both caught COVID-19 the first week of October. Glen died first, separating the couple for the first time in 67 years. Gale followed just four days later.
“She always said that she didn’t want him to outlive her because she was always kind of his caregiver … I think that was her plan all along,” said Alisa Braly, their granddaughter.
“She felt like she could not go until Dad did,” Mark said.
Glen was 90. Gale was 89.
“It was bittersweet … You don’t want either of them to have to grieve each other,” Alisa said.
“I believe it was answered prayer personally. I think God rescued them,” Anne said.
They began life together, and now they rest together. But their legacy lives on in their family and in the continuing growth at their greenhouse they loved so much.
“We look at the beauty of it, we look at the life in here, and they will always be in our hearts and our spirit,” Mark said.