Relatives of an Ohio couple who died at a nursing home 11 hours apart on the same day say their love story's ending reflects their devotion over 65 years of marriage. The Dayton Daily News reports that Harold and Ruth Knapke died in their shared room on Aug. 11, days before their 66th anniversary. Their daughters say they believe their father willed himself to stay with his wife despite failing health until they could take the next step in their journey together. He went first; she followed.
The couple met in third grade, and began courting when Ruth became Harold's pen pal while he served in Germany during World War II. “I let him chase me until I caught him!” Ruth would later say. The couple had a joint funeral Mass, with granddaughters carrying Ruth's casket and grandsons carrying Harold's casket. The cemetery procession stopped at the farm house where the couple had raised six children. The current owners surprised the family by flying a flag at half-staff.