Who says true love doesn’t exist? This story involves a couple in love and sounds much like The Notebook, except it really happened.
In Dayton, Ohio, Harold and Ruth Knapke died in their shared nursing home room on August 11, only eleven hours apart on the same day. The Dayton Daily News learned they had been married 65 years and were days away from celebrating their 66th anniversary. Harold was 91 and Ruth was 89.
“We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did,” said daughter Margaret Knapke.
Harold’s health was failing, but his family believes he fought to stay by his wife’s side until they were both ready to leave this world together. He went first and his children viewed that as his “final act of love.” Ruth then followed.
The couple met as children and in the third grade Ruth had a crush on Harold, but their courtship didn’t begin until Harold was in the Army during World War II, stationed in Germany. They were pin pals and after his return home, Ruth would often joke, “I let him chase me until I caught him!”
Even at their end, Ruth caught him again.
“It is really just a love story,” said Carol Romie, another daughter. “They were so committed and loyal and dedicated, they weren’t going to go anywhere without the other one.”
The Knapkes had a joint funeral and after the service, the cemetery procession drove by the farmhouse where the coupled had lived before moving to the nursing home. To their surprise, the current owners had their flag hanging at half-staff to honor the couple and their love for one another.
-Ashley Quadros, KZZO/Sacramento