A Dayton, Ohio couple had been married for 65 years and passed away only hours apart. Harold and Ruth Knapke both died in their home where they lived in a nursing facility on the same day. They died only a few days before their 66th anniversary. Mr. Knapke was 91 years old, and his younger wife Ruth was 89.
Surviving family members believe that this love story went from this world into the next. The Knapkes’ daughters believed that despite their father’s poor health, that he survived just to be there for his wife, and to make sure that their love survived as long as it did into the next world. “We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did,” daughter Margaret Knapke said. Taking the final and next step in their journey together was their fathers’ “final act of love.”
The 65 years married Knapkes knew each other as children and began courting as pen pals during WWII. Harold came back from the war and became a teacher, a coach and an athletic director at Fort Recovery Schools, according to the Huffington Post. The Knapkes had 6 children and had a happy married life.
A photo taken over this summer showed Harold Knapke reclining in bed, with his arm outstretched holding his wife’s hand, as she brought her head to his. When Ruth wasn’t feeling well, Mr. Knapke would lovingly tend to his wife, and bless her with holy water.
The daughters of the Knapkes held a joint funeral Mass, “where granddaughters carried Ruth’s casket and grandsons carried Harold’s casket.” The funerary procession made a stop at a farmhouse where the couple had lived, and the current owners surprised the family and flew the American flag at half-staff, honoring the Knapkes and Harold Knapke for his devoted service to this country during WWII.
Finally, Carol Romie, daughter of the Knapkes, commented, “It is really just a love story, they were so committed and loyal and dedicated, they weren’t going to go anywhere without the other one.”