Couple Married 72 Years Dies One Hour Apart, Holding Hands

Gordon, 94, and Norma Yeager, 90, an Iowa couple married for 72 years, died one hour apart last week in the hospital as they held hands.  On the day she graduated from high school, Norma said "yes"' to Gordon's marriage proposal and they got married on May 26, 1939.

"They're very old-fashioned. They believed in marriage til death do you part," said son Dennis Yeager. "She was the hostess with the mostess. Dad would be the center of attention, like, 'Weee look at me,' and mom was like 'get him away from me!' You know we even got a picture like that."

Dennis Yeager said the couple left home last Wednesday to go into town, but Gordon pulled in front of an oncoming car. The Iowa State Patrol crash report said the other driver attempted to avoid the crash, but was unable to stop in time.

In the intensive care unit of Marshalltown, Iowa, nurses knew not to separate Gordon and Norma. "They brought them in the same room in intensive care and put them together and they were holding hands in ICU. They were not really responsive," said Dennis Yeager.

Gordon died at 3:38 p.m. holding hands with his wife as the family they built surrounded them.

"It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn't figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going," said Dennis Yeager.

"But we were like, he isn't breathing. How does he still have a heart beat? The nurse checked and said that's because they were holding hands and it's going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up."

At 4:38 p.m., exactly one hour after Gordon died, Norma passed too.

"Neither one of them would've wanted to be without each other. I couldn't figure out how it was going to work," said daughter Donna Sheets. "We were very blessed, honestly, that they went this way."

At their funeral on Tuesday, Norma and Gordon even held hands in their casket. Family said they will be cremated and their ashes mixed together.


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