Russia Couple Modeled Married Life
The story of Don and Ruth Knapke of Russia (OH) is appearing in news reports all over the world.
Married for almost 66 years, the couple lived their final years in a shared room at a Versailles (OH) nursing home and died within hours of each other.
“As you might know, Dad died 11 hours before Mom did – both of them on Sunday – and we believe he did that as a final act of love for her,” their daughter Margaret told the Dayton Daily News. “We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did.”
British newspaper the Daily Mail ended its story this way:
“They had a joint funeral Mass, with granddaughters carrying Ruth’s casket and grandsons carrying Harold’s casket. The cemetery procession stopped outside the farm house where the couple had raised their six children and enjoyed so many years of marriage.
“The current owners, in respect to the Knapkes, flew a flag at half-mast.”
A Fox News story quoted Simon, one of their 14 grandchildren, explaining the timing:
“Their faith in God, as devout Catholics,” Simon said when asked what he thought was behind the 11-hour gap between his grandparent’s deaths. “I don’t think any of this would have happened without God.”
According to The Daily Standard of Celina (OH), Doc Knapke graduated from Fort Recovery High School, the University of Dayton, and Ball State University. After serving in Europe in World War II, he worked at Fort Recovery Schools as a teacher, principal, and coach, and was also a co-owner of Miracle Lanes Bowling Alley.
Ruth (Schmitz) Knapke graduated from St. Henry High School in St. Henry (OH) and was a secretary at West Elementary School in Fort Recovery.
Married in 1947 at St. Henry Catholic Church, the couple had six children, one of whom died in infancy, and 14 grandchildren. Over the years they were parishioners of Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church in Fort Recovery, and St. Remy in Russia.
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