Ed and Floreen Hale, of New York, met at a dance 60 years ago and were inseparable ever since, even in the final hours before death.
Floreen Hale, 82, passed away in a Batavia, N.Y., hospital on Feb. 7, with her severely ill husband, Ed Hale, 83, lying by her side while holding hands until he died 36 hours later, the Daily Mail reports.
Hale was taken to a Rochester, N.Y., hospital a month ago with kidney failure; while Floreen was rushed to United Methodist Medical Center in Batavia 35 miles away for congestive heart failure and other ailments.
At first, the 83-year-old man was too weak to be transferred to be with his dying wife, but at the family’s request, he ended up in a bed next to hers.
When the young engineer asked Floreen’s parents for her hand in marriage, she had just been in a car accident and was recovering at the time. Her first husband, whom she married only three months earlier, lost his life in the accident.
However, Hale was determined to be with the wife he’d pamper for decades.
“I will care for her the rest of my life if I have to,” he told Floreen’s parents at the time.
The couple married on May 12, 1953, settled in Batavia and had two surviving children, Renee Hirsh and Ricky. A third baby, Scott, died in infancy.
“I think it was so beautiful the way it happened,” says Lisa Giattino, Ed and Floreen’s niece. “It is a true love story.”
Hirsh, the Hales’ only daughter, told WGRZ that even though it has been a devastating experience for those who knew Ed and Floreen, she is blown away by it: “[My mom] would tell me many, many, times for many, many years, 'I'm going with him, I'm not going to live without your father. I'm going with him.' I'd often wonder, how can that be possible?”
As for the promise Ed made to Floreen’s parents a long time ago, Hirsh says, “He followed that commitment to his last breath.”
“He was a gentleman right up to the end, waiting for her to go first,” she told the blog Orleans Hub.