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AP Photo/Knapke Family Harold and Ruth pictured in June.
# love story
Couple married for 65 years die 11 hours apart
Is someone chopping onions?

A COUPLE WHO were married for 65 years have died just 11 hours apart at their nursing home in Ohio.

Relatives said their love story’s ending reflects their devotion over 65 years of marriage.

Harold and Ruth Knapke died in their shared room earlier this month, just days before their 66th anniversary, according to The Dayton Daily News.

He was 91, she was 89.

The couple’s daughters said they believe their father willed himself to stay by his wife’s side despite failing health until they could take the next step in their journey together.

He died first — his children saw it as his “final act of love” — and she followed.

Their daughter Margaret said:

We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did.

The couple had known each other as children but didn’t began their courtship until they became pen pals while Harold, known as ‘Doc’, served in the Army during World War II.

Ruth would later joke:

I let him chase me until I caught him!


Harold and Ruth pose for a photo on their wedding day in August 1947 (AP Photo/Knapke Family)

Her husband became a teacher, coach and athletic director at Fort Recovery Schools and together they raised six children.

The Knapkes 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 lived, and the current owners surprised the family by flying a flag at half-smast to honor the longtime loves.

Carol Romie, another of Harold and Ruthie’s daughters said:

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.

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