Real Life "Notebook" Love Story: Harold & Ruth married 65 years die 11 hours apart.
Harold and Ruth Knapke, Married 65 Years, Die 11 Hours Apart
Ruthie and Harold “Doc” Knapke spent more than 65 years of their lives together and, in the end, they died just 11 hours apart.
“I think we all agreed it was no coincidence,” said Carol Romie, one of the Fort Recovery, Ohio, couple’s six children. “When mom became ill, we tried to make it clear to dad that mom wasn’t going to make it, and he seemed really agitated for a day or so, at first. And then he became really calm, and I think he decided, ‘No she’s not going without me.’”
Harold Knapke died on Sunday, Aug. 11, at 7:30 a.m. at the age of 91. Ruth Knapke died later that evening, at 6:30 p.m., at the age of 89, according to Romie. They both passed away in the room they’d shared for the past two months in a nursing home near Russia, Ohio, where they’d moved about six years ago to be closer to their daughter, Pat, a nurse.
“Mom had said so, in as many words, that she didn’t want to be here without dad,” Romie said. “They were just so devoted to one another.”
The Knapkes would have celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on Aug. 20.
“It’s one of those love stories you don’t see in the movies,” said Romie. “Theirs was definitely a love just not the glitzy, Hollywood side. They worked at it and they knew they needed to work at it and it worked.”
Following their deaths, the couple’s six children, 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren laid them to rest together in a cemetery in their beloved Fort Recovery. The funeral procession made a stop at the home where the Knapkes raised their children. The family that lives there now lowered the flag outside the home to half staff.