Norma and Gordon Yeager of State Center, Iowa, refused to part from each other and held hands, even while they lay dying in an intensive care unit of their local hospital, according to Des Moines’ KCCI News.
The vows of matrimony were important to Norma, 90, and Gordon, 94, and they had stayed together since 1939, when Gordon asked her to marry him right after she graduated from High School.
"They're very old-fashioned. They believed in marriage till death do us part," said son Dennis Yeager.
Although the couple playfully jousted and fussed with each other as most couples occasionally do, they were utterly devoted and could not bear the thought of being without each other.
Gordon is quoted as saying, "I can't go until she does, because I got to stay here for her."
According to accounts of the family, Gordon was the life of the party while Norma kept the whole thing together.
"Staying together for 72 years is good, I'd say that's exceptional," said daughter Donna Sheets.
Last Wednesday, the couple decided to drive into town and, tragically, became involved in a car accident at the intersection of Highway 30 and Jessup Avenue, just west of Marshall Town. According to state troopers, Gordon accidentally positioned his vehicle in front of an oncoming car.
Paramedics took the Yeagers to the same room in intensive care and placed them together, for as the younger Yeager explained it, the nurses knew not to separate them.
They held hands in intensive care, but, due to the hospital's administering of morphine, the couple remained unresponsive.
Gordon died at 3:38 p.m., holding hands with Norma, while their family surrounded them. Still, what happened next will never be forgotten. According to Dennis Yeager:
"It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn't figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going. But we were like, he isn't breathing. How does he still have a heart beat?"
The attending nurse was able to offer an explanation:
"The nurse checked and said that's because they were holding hands and it's going through them. Her heart was beating through him and it [the monitor] picked it up."
At 4:48 p.m., exactly one hour after her husband had passed, Norma passed as well. The family said the couple will be cremated and their ashes mixed together.