An Ohio couple died at a nursing home just 11 hours apart on the same day, which is being called a love story with an ending that reflects their devotion to each other throughout their over 65 years of marriage. Harold and Ruth Knapke died in their shared room on Aug. 11, only days before celebrating their 66th anniversary, according to ABC News on Aug. 27. He was 91, she was 89.
The couple's daughters told the Dayton Daily News on Sunday that they believe their father willed himself to stay by his wife's side despite his own failing health.
The couple's children said that their father passed first, and they view this as his final act of love for their mother.
"We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did", daughter Margaret Knapke said.
The couple grew up together as children and began courting as pen pals when Harold, nicknamed "Doc", served in the Army during World War II.
Ruth would joke, "I let him chase me until I caught him!"
Doc became a teacher, as well as a coach and athletic director at Fort Recovery Schools. They raised six children together, while looking after each other with a never-ending devotion.
The Knapkes were celebrated with a joint funeral Mass, with granddaughters carrying Ruth's casket, while their grandsons carried Harold's.
The funeral procession to the cemetery made a stop at the farm house where the pair had once lived. The current owners surprised the family by flying a flag at half-staff to honor the longtime couple.
Even though this isn't the first report of a couple who shared a long lifetime together, who also happened to pass away at nearly the same time. But it further points up the special bond humans make with one another.
Daughter Carol Romie said the two were so committed to each other that they weren't about to go anywhere without the other one, in explaining their amazingly coincidental deaths.
She called her parent's tale a real love story.