On August 11, Harold Knapke passed away, at the age of 91. 11 hours later, his wife Ruth followed at the age of 89 . They were only a few days away from celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary.
According to family members of Ohio couple, this ubersweet ending wasn’t a coincidence. Harold and Ruth’s daughters told the Dayton News Daily (via AP) that their father willed himself to stay alive for his ailing wife as one final profession of love. “We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did,” Margaret Knapke told the paper.
The Knapke’s storybook romance goes all the way back to when Harold and Ruth’s early days. The two met as kids and became pen pals when Harold served in the Army during World War II. He returned, they tied the knot, and the rest is history. Ruth later told her family that “”I let him chase me until I caught him!” Were we aware that people could be this adorable?
Carol Romie, another daughter, suggests that her father stuck around until he knew the couple could go out together. “They were so committed and loyal and dedicated, they weren’t going to go anywhere without the other one.” Proof that “Till death do us part” isn’t all that applicable when the perfect person is involved.
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on New York Magazine’s Vulture, Film.com, Hollywood.com, MTV, and he is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino. He continues to love Groundhog Day.