They met in elementary school, began a romance during World War II and married not long afterward. They had a lifelong devotion to each other as husband and wife that lasted nearly 66 years — and one day earlier this month they died, just 11 hours apart.
Their children call it their “final act of love.”
Harold Knapke, 91, and his wife, Ruth, 89, died August 11 at the Versailles Health Care Center nursing home in Russia, Ohio, spokeswoman Teresa Pohlmon said.
Their children said they were nine days short of their 66th wedding anniversary.
“It’s consoling to us that they went together,” said their daughter, Margaret Knapke. “On one hand it’s difficult to lose both parents at once when you didn’t see it coming … but it’s very consoling that they got to go together.”
According to Margaret, her father’s health had been deteriorating more quickly than her mother’s for about a year.
“We would ask, ‘Why is he still here?'” Margaret said. “And the answer was that he was here for Mom.”
“He loved her very dearly. He was extremely loyal. He wanted to be here with her,” she added. “He would sleep all day toward the end but when he’d wake the first thing he’d ask is, ‘Where’s your mother? How’s your mother?'”