When Ed Hale asked his future wife's parents for her hand in marriage, she had just been in an awful car accident and a long journey to recovery was ahead. They said no, but he persisted, telling them, "I will care for her the rest of my life if I have to." Ed and Floreen Hale were married in 1953, and more than 60 years later, they both lay dying—in separate New York hospitals. Determined to be with the wife he'd pampered for decades, Ed convinced the hospitals to pull some strings, and he ended up in a bed right next to hers, so close they could hold hands. Floreen died on February 7, followed less than 36 hours later by Ed.
"I think it was so beautiful the way it happened," says a niece. "It is a true love story." One of the Hales' three children, their only daughter, tells WGRZ that though the experience has been terrible for those who loved Ed and Floreen, she is amazed 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?" And as for her father's long-ago promise to his wife's parents, "He followed that commitment to his last breath," she says. She tells Orleans Hub, "He was a gentleman right up to the end, waiting for her to go first."