A Wisconsin couple who had been married 73 years got to hold hands and say a final “I love you” before dying just hours apart from coronavirus, according to their family.
Wilford Kepler, 94, and wife Mary, 92, had spent their final days in adjoining beds at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa before they both succumbed on April 18, according to their obituary.
“They were able to say, ‘I love you,’” granddaughter Natalie Lameka told WTMJ.
“They had been holding hands and that was just heartbreaking to hear but also heartwarming to hear. And we were just so thankful they were together and were aware they were together,” she added.
Before her death, Mary also said that she felt like she was “being cared for by Angels,” according to their obit.
The couple had met in high school but grew close when Mary started writing to Wilford when he was sent to the Pacific during World War II, including the Battle of Okinawa, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said.
They married in 1946, soon after his return.
Their obit says they “died six hours apart” of “the terrible Covid-19.” However, Wilford’s cause of death was listed as a traumatic head injury after he suffered a fall on Easter Sunday while the sick couple initially isolated at home, according to the Journal Sentinel. Both had tested positive.
Their granddaughter was allowed to see them for an hour the day before they died. “They were aware of what was going on, and they were at peace with it,” she told the paper.
They leave behind a son, two daughters, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, their obit says.
Their son, Michael Kepler, said they were a kind and caring couple.
“They lived a good life,” he said.