‘Together in Heaven': Husband and wife married for 71 years die on same day, just 12 hours apart
AUGUSTA, Ga. - A Georgia couple’s long-lasting love touched hearts when the husband and wife died on the same day on Friday after 71 years of marriage.
Herbert and Marilyn Frances DeLaigle died just 12 hours apart with the husband Herbert dying at 2:20 a.m. and Marilyn Frances at 2:20 p.m., according to the couple’s caretaker and DeLoach McKerley-Prescott Funeral Homes.
Herbert was 94 years old and Marilyn Frances was 88.
“They lived together, loved together, laughed together and passed on the same day,” Sharon Gibbons Brown, the couple’s caretaker, wrote in a Facebook post honoring the couple. “They really had some love story. I’ve read about this kind of love, heard about it, seen it movies but having contact and actually getting to know the individuals actually takes it to a whole different level being in the presence of the DeLaigles was such a blessing.”
“To God be the Glory for such an opportunity. It may not seem like much to some but to me it’s priceless,” Brown said.
Daughter Helen Iris DeLaigle said, “They were special.”
On Friday, the DeLaigle family also issued a statement obtained by WKYT-TV.
"It's amazing how they were together for 71 years and now they are together in heaven,” the DeLaigle family said. “What an amazing love story that is."
Their love story began at a cafe in Waynesboro, Georgia, when they were only 22 and 16 years old, WRDW-TV reported. The station did an interview with the couple in 2018 to celebrate their 70-year marriage at the time.
“Frances worked at a little cafe we had in Waynesboro named White Way Cafe,” Herbert told the station. “I kept seeing her going in and out, in and out and I had my eyes set on her. And then I finally got up the nerve to ask her if she would go out with me sometime.”
Their first date was at the movies, according to the station. Then, one year later, Herbert asked Marilyn Frances to marry him.
"I asked her will she have me as her husband and she said, ‘Of course,’" Herbert said.
Brown described the moment she met the loving couple.
“When I met them, I thought they were so cute the way they had their recliners set right next to each other smiling and looking into each other’s eyes as they talked,” she wrote in a Facebook post honoring the couple. “You could feel the love they had for each the moment you walked into their room they were both so pleasant and humble, they accepted me as their caregiver just minutes after meeting them.
Brown also described the very first night that she stayed with them.
“They were awake holding hands like 4 a.m. in the morning telling each other how much they loved each other,” she said. “They smiled, giggled and played like teenagers falling in love for the first time.”
Herbert was a retired master sergeant in the U.S. Army after having served in WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars, his obituary on the funeral home’s website said.
Marilyn Frances spent six years in Germany with her husband and lived in many states during his more than 20 years of service, according to her obituary. Her children said that she was “a very devoted mother” when their father was gone for months at a time, her obituary said.
Herbert also worked alongside his wife at Marilyn’s Nursery, his obituary said.
The couple is survived by their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.