Nancy and Bill Schafrath, an elderly couple in Ohio that had been married for 64 years, died peacefully in each others’ arms within five hours of each other on Christmas Eve, professing their love for each other until the very end. Their last loving embrace was documented by their niece Pat Cornelius.
Husband and wife Bill Schafrath, 88, and Nancy, 85, both died on Dec. 24 at Brookdale Senior Living in Wooster, Ohio, where they lived for the past year. Bill died around 7 a.m. and Nancy died after 11 a.m.
When Bill couldn’t get out of bed anymore over their last few weeks, the couple’s niece, Pat Cornelius, pushed their beds together so “they literally held hands for the last week of their life,” according to the Daily Record.
Bill served in the United States Army during the Korean War and went on to work as a bricklayer while his wife had a 35-year career in banking.
They loved playing cards together and spending time outdoors, including spending winters in the Tampa Bay, Florida, the Daily Record reported.
Cornelius said the couple had no children but are survived by many nieces and nephews as well as their church family, Daily Record reported.
The couple’s joint funeral was held on Jan. 2 at St. Mary Catholic Church where more than 200 family members and friends attended.
“Certainly for me, this is a first, a Mass where we are burying a married couple together, who died on the same day,” said Father Richard Samide, who officiated the couple’s funeral.
“It’s almost like they decided that if one went, the other would go, too,” their nephew, John Moritz said. “Somehow they knew.”