Former DeSoto councilman and his wife die from COVID-19

The city of DeSoto is mourning the loss of a former city council member and his wife, who were both an important part of the community.

James and Linda Zander both died Monday evening after battling COVID-19. 

The couple reportedly died in the same hospital room.

James served on the city council for seven years. His wife worked for the chamber of commerce.

Both will be remembered for their service to the city.

The former mayor once referred to them as the "dynamic duo."

DeSoto’s "power couple" was known throughout the community. Friends who knew them aren’t surprised they each passed the same day because they wouldn’t want to live without the other.

"And I don’t think words can actually say how I felt when I found out they actually passed away, especially from COVID, in regards to that," family friend Kenneth Govan said.

Courtesy: James Zander's Facebook

He remembers that Linda was there the very moment he met his now-wife.

"And Linda’s very next words were, ‘Oh, you’re going to marry her.’ And seriously, when I proposed to her, I called my mother and I called Linda," he recalled.

And people in DeSoto said they could always call on the Zanders.

"They were one that took ownership, I guess you could say, of our community because it was theirs," DeSoto Mayor Pro Tem Kenzie Moore III said.

Moore said he only ran for city council when his friend, James, encouraged him to fill his seat in 2017.

"He always reminded me that it was him that put me in this position, and to some degree, he’s right," he recalled.

He said James left city hall to spend more time with Linda.

"I know what James and Linda would want us to do: move forward. Just move forward," he added.

And despite their tragic end, Govan has a takeaway about his friends.

"I think it was just that love they had for each other," he said. "I don’t think either one of them would want to be here with the other one being gone."

The city of DeSoto would not comment on COVID-19 health questions related to their deaths, but did express its condolences.