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Ohio Couple Die On Same Day, Just Before 66th Anniversary

RUSSIA, Ohio, (UPI) –  An Ohio couple died on the same day in the same nursing home, nine days before their 66th wedding anniversary, their family said.

Harold Knapke, 91, and Ruth Knapke, 89, had known each other since they were in elementary school, their children told CNN. They died Aug. 11 at the Versailles Health Care Center in Russia, Ohio.

Harold Knapke appeared to become sicker after he was told his wife had contracted an infection that would almost certainly kill her, their daughter, Margaret Knapke, said.

In the end, he went first.

“I think he realized what was happening and wanted to pave the way for her,” their son, Ted, told CNN.

Ruth Knapke told her children she had a crush on her husband in third grade but his family moved to a different town.

The two got together during World War II when he was stationed in Germany. Ruth’s brother-in-law, when he discovered Harold Knapke was from the same part of Ohio, suggested he get in touch with her.

They married in 1947 and had six children. He became a teacher and principal in Fort Recovery, Ohio, and she worked as a school secretary.

Decades later, they were buried together after a joint funeral.

“Mom and Dad were ordinary people,” another daughter, Ginny Reindl, said. “I guess if people can learn from our story it’s that there is love that lasts, and that’s a good thing.”

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