Harold and Ruth Knapke had six children, 14 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and a love that lasted over 65 years. They died on Sunday, August 11th, separated by just 11 hours. Harold Knapke died at 7:30 a.m. at the age of 91 and Ruth Knapke died a few hours later that evening, at 6:30 p.m., at the age of 89.
“I think we all agreed it was no coincidence,” said Carol Romie, one of the couple’s six children, speaking to ABC News. The family sees the timing of their parents’ deaths as emblematic of their enduring love. The couple met during World War II when they exchanged letters while Harold Knapke was serving overseas. The couple eventually settled in Fort Recovery, Ohio, where they raised their family while remaining devoted to each other throughout the years. “We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did,” daughter Margaret Knapke told The Washington Post. Romie added, “They were so committed and loyal and dedicated, they weren’t going to go anywhere without the other one.”
Fittingly, the couple was laid to rest, together, in a cemetery near their home in Fort Recovery, Ohio. The family honored the Knapkes with a joint funeral with their granddaughters carrying Ruth’s casket while grandsons held Harold’s. The funeral procession stopped at the family home where the current residents had raised a flag at half mast to show their respect to the couple.
The Knapkes would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on Aug. 20.
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