Cou­ple would hold hands ev­ery day

Mar­ried 70 years, they died hours apart

SundayXtra - - NEWS CANADA I WORLD -

NASHPORT, Ohio — A cou­ple who held hands at break­fast ev­ery morn­ing even af­ter 70 years of mar­riage have died 15 hours apart.

He­len Felum­lee, of Nashport, Ohio, died at 92 on April 12. Her hus­band, 91-year- old Kenneth Felum­lee, died the next morn­ing.

The cou­ple’s eight chil­dren say the two had been in­sep­a­ra­ble since meet­ing as teenagers, once shar­ing the bot­tom of a bunk bed on a ferry rather than sleep­ing one night apart, the Zanesville Times Recorder re­ported.

They re­mained deeply in love un­til the very end, even eat­ing break­fast to­gether while hold­ing hands, said their daugh­ter, Linda Cody.

“We knew when one went, the other was go­ing to go,” she said.

Cody said about 12 hours af­ter He­len died, Kenneth looked at his chil­dren and said, “Mom’s dead.” He quickly be­gan to fade and was sur­rounded by 24 of his clos­est fam­ily mem­bers and friends when he died the next morn­ing.

“He was ready,” Cody said. “He just didn’t want to leave her here by her­self.”

Son Dick Felum­lee said his par­ents died of old age, sur­rounded by fam­ily.

“At Dad’s bed we were singing his favourite hymns, read­ing scrip­tures and pray­ing with him,” he told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “It was a go­ing away party, and we know he loved it.”

The pair had known each other for sev­eral years when they eloped in New­port, Ky., across the Ohio River from Cincin­nati, on Feb. 20, 1944. At two days shy of his 21st birth­day, Kenneth — who went by Kenny — was too young to marry in Ohio. “He couldn’t wait,” son Jim Felum­lee said. Kenneth worked as a rail­road-car in­spec­tor and me­chanic be­fore be­com­ing a mail car­rier for the Nashport Post Of­fice. He was ac­tive in his Nashport-Irville United Methodist Church as a Sun­day school teacher.

He­len stayed at home, not only cook­ing and clean­ing for her own fam­ily but also for other fam­i­lies in need in the area. She taught Sun­day school, too, but was known more for her greet­ing- card min­istry, send­ing cards for birth­days, sym­pa­thy and the hol­i­days to ev­ery­one in her com­mu­nity, each with a per­sonal note in­side.

When Kenneth re­tired in 1983 and the chil­dren be­gan to leave the house, the Felum­lees be­gan to ex­plore their love of travel, vis­it­ing nearly all 50 states by bus.

“He didn’t want to fly any­where be­cause you couldn’t see any­thing as you were go­ing,” Jim Felum­lee said.

Al­though both ex­pe­ri­enced de­clin­ing health in re­cent years, Cody said, each tried to stay strong for the other.

“That’s what kept them go­ing,” she said.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press


ABOVE: He­len and Kenneth Felum­lee in Septem­ber 1941, nearly three years be­fore they were mar­ried. LEFT: The Ohio cou­ple, who eloped in Ken­tucky, with their eight chil­dren in De­cem­ber 2012.

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