Ohio couple Harold and Ruth Knapke died at a nursing home only 11 hours apart— something relatives say was a reflection of their devotion during 65 years of marriage.
The couple died in their shared room on Aug. 11 just days before their 65th anniversary.
"It is really just a love story," said daughter Carol Romie. "They were so committed and loyal and dedicated, they weren't going to go anywhere without the other one."
The couple had known each other as children and met in a third grade class. The two were later pen pals when Harold joined the Army during World War II. He later became a teacher, coach and athletic director at Fort Recovery Schools.
Simon, one of the Knapkes 14 grandchildren, attributed the timing to their faith in God as devout Catholics.
“I don’t think any of this would have happened without God,” he said.
A recent photo of the Knapkes showed Harold reaching through a guardrail to hold his wife’s hand, the couple leaning head-to-head. According to daughter Pat Simon, Harold would bless his wife with holy water each night she felt ill.
The Knapkes had a joint funeral Mass with grandchildren carrying each casket.
The funeral procession stopped at the farm where the Knapkes had lived where the new owners had flown a flag at half-staff to honor the couple.