I am always moved by stories about couples who were so close to one another during life that they die within a short time of one another. Last night, on the NBC News, there was the story of a couple who fell in love in high school married and lived together for a very long time. When one died the other died within several days. I was reminded of the story that was in the be news last year. It was a story about about a couple who'd been married for many years. Gordon Yeager and his wife Norma were born in Iowa. During the depression 16-year-old Gordon went to work at the Chevrolet garage in the small town where he lived. There he met and fell in love with Norma who was still in high school. He proposed and they were married on the day she graduated from high school, May 26, 1939.
It was the depression so the wedding was small and held in the evening in the home of Gordon's sister with the expenses covered by Gordon's first paycheck. Later, Gordon found work in California where they moved and he worked as a welder in the shipyards. After the war, they returned to the town where they had met in Iowa. They had four children. Gordon eventually took over the Chevrolet garage business with his brother Roger, where Gordon had worked as a young boy. His wife was the bookkeeper. The children remember the parents poring over the books until 2 AM in the morning.When they retired they would spend half the year in Tucson Arizona.
One of the children remembered that his father would often say "I have to stick around. I can't go until she does because I have to stay here for her and she would say the same thing." Then one tragic Wednesday, when Gordon was 94 and Norma was 90, they were driving to town. Gordon mistakenly pulled out to pass and the on coming driver could not avoid the collision. They were taken to the hospital and put in the intensive care unit in beds where they lay side-by-side. Although barely responsive, they locked hands. The children say they were never separated and held hands continuously. The afternoon of the accident, at 3:38 PM, Gordon died, with his family beside him and his wife in the bed next to him. They were still holding hands when his heart stopped beating, yet his heart monitor continued beeping. The nurse checked and found that the monitor was recording Norma's heartbeat since they were still locked in a hand grasp. But, exactly one hour after Gordon died, at 4:48 PM, Norma died too.
At their funeral they were still together, sharing the same casket. They left surviving the children along with 14 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren. They left behind an extraordinary love story of a couple married for 72 years and who were just as united in death.