A Minnesota couple, hopelessly in love for all 65 years of their marriage, have died within hours of each other in what could be considered the most romantic symbol of their eternal devotion.
Clifford and Eva Vevea spent their last few days together holding hands as always thanks to the efforts of nurses at Valley Eldercare Center who moved their beds together.
In life the energetic pair went dancing together, worked around the house together and even pushed their recliners together so they could touch and last Sunday, Clifford aged 93 and Eva aged 90, passed away exactly the same way.
‘They were ready to go,’ daughter-in-law Kip Vevea told the Grand Forks Herald. ‘They said they had had a good life together, and they wanted to go together.’
Local funeral director, Jim Bredman, referred to the close death of spouses as ‘the anniversary syndrome’ but said in most cases it occurs within a year or so.
‘This is a rare case. In my 41-year career, we had one other occasion where we had a companion funeral’ due to death by natural causes. ‘In that case, the two died within a day and a half.’
Clifford and Eva Vevea lived 48 of their 65 years of marriage in Crookston after a ceremony in Thief River Falls where Mr Vevea was born and raised.
After serving in the Army in Philippines and in post-war Japan, Mr Vevea worked with Job Service until his retirement in 1985. His wife retired from her job at a U.S. Department of Agriculture office the year before.
In their leisure time, the couple were renowned for their fabulous moves and regularly went dancing on the weekends.
Their son Kip recalled how they were once featured in the Grand Forks Herald as ‘the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ of the area.
Close friend Alveda Scholin agreed: They were always together, always wonderfully happy together,” she said. “Especially in the later years, they always held hands.’
She continued: ‘It’s so unreal that they would die on the same day. But Eva had prayed for that. It would have been very sad for the one left behind because of their closeness.’
Mrs Vevea was the first to fall ill with a heart attack on December 15 perhaps prompting Mr Vevea’s own heart failure shortly after.
By the time their son had arrived from Texas, they were both in hospital where Mr Vevea had been given stents but suffered kidney failure.
‘I got to talk to him the first day,’ Kip said. ‘After that, I’m not sure he knew we were there.’
His mother on the other hand was slightly more aware and awake enough to place her hand on his.
On Sunday morning Cliff Vevea passed away and a few hours later, after holding his hand for a final time, Eva Vevea died too.
Judy Vevea, their daughter-in-law paid tribute to the example of their endless love in anticipation of tomorrow’s funeral.
‘He wrote poems for her,’ she said. ‘He wrote songs for her. They were madly in love.’
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