Tuesday 25 July 2017

Devoted couple die less than 24 hours apart after almost 70 years of marriage

By Edward Dracott

Prepare to have your heartstrings pulled by Ruth and Elmer Bihl…

Prepare to have your heartstrings pulled. A couple who were together for seven decades have died within a day of each other.

Ruth and Elmer Bihl tied the knot on September 25 1948 and passed away this month in Florida.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Elmer knew Ruth was the one from the moment he saw her across a dance floor. He had reportedly always said he wanted to die at the same time as his wife – a wish which came uncannily close, but it was he who died first.

Ruth, 89, had suffered from dementia for almost the last two decades. As her health deteriorated, Elmer visited his wife at a care home in St Cloud outside Orlando at exactly 12pm every day so they could eat lunch together.

Then last year Elmer was diagnosed with cancer and the 93-year-old was also admitted to Solaris Healthcare, where he shared a room with his wife.

Elmer died on March 1 at 6.10am – Ruth followed on March 2 at 5.10am.

The couple’s granddaughter Christy Dudgeon said: “My heart was broken when I heard the news of my grandfather as I knew he would not let go until he knew grandma would be safe and taken care of. It was a blessing that she followed so quickly because he was waiting for her.”

Relatives said in later years after Ruth became unwell Elmer doted on his wife “every second of the day”, doing all household chores and making sure she was taken care of and safe.

“Their love story was so beautiful and to be able to witness it was an inspiration to those who knew them,” said Christy. “The way that my grandfather looked at my grandmother even after she had fallen ill is a memory I will hold very close to my heart.”

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