US couple married for 66 years die 11 hours apart

Harold and Ruth Knapke pose for a photo on their wedding day in St Henry, Ohio 20 August 1947 The Knapkes were married in 1947

An elderly Ohio couple died 11 hours apart in their shared nursing home room, nearly 66 years after they were first married, US media report.

Harold and Ruth Knapke, who began courting by post during World War II, died on 11 August.

"I think we all agreed it was no coincidence," Carol Romie, one of their six children, told ABC News.

While Ruth Knapke, 89, was the first to fall ill, Harold, 91, died first. They were buried together.

Their children told the Dayton Daily News it was his "final act of love".

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

This June 2013 photo provided by the Knapke family shows Harold and Ruth Knapke.

Mr Knapke was a teacher, coach and athletic director in Fort Recovery, Ohio, while Ruth Knapke worked as a school secretary after staying at home to raise the couple's children, according to ABC News.

A joint funeral procession stopped outside the home where they had raised their family.

The current owners lowered a US flag at half mast to honour the couple.

Their 66th wedding anniversary would have been 20 August.

More on This Story

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • TravelAround the world

    BBC Travel takes a look at the most striking images from the past seven days


  • A bicycle with a Copenhagen WheelClick Watch

    The wheel giving push bikes an extra boost by turning them into smart electric hybrids

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.