The most heartwarming love tales often don’t happen in Hollywood; rather, they are found in the lives of regular couples who have amazing love for one another. Like this couple who, after spending more than 70 years together, passed away hours apart.
Early in the 1940s, while studying in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Isabell Whitney and Preble Staver had a blind date. Although the seed of love had been planted, it would take time for it to fully flourish.
Both Isabell and Preble joined the Allies in their fight against the Nazis during the Second World War, which was raging in Europe. Preble joined the Marines and received a Bronze Star for his valor, while Isabell served as a Navy nurse stationed in Maryland.
The couple was then legally wed on February 15, 1946, five months after the war had ended.
It was the start of a lovely marriage that lasted seven decades and ended just as gracefully as it had begun.
Preble Staver and Isabell had five kids together after getting married. While Preble had several career transitions, Isabell reared them and served as the family’s rock. When their son Peter tragically lost his life while playing football in his senior year of high school, the couple encouraged one another. When the kids were all grown up, Isabell returned to her nursing career.
Laurie Staver Clinton, the couple’s now 62-year-old daughter, gave People magazine a profile of her parents.
Laurie told: “They were great people. Mom really taught me that you can’t change another person but you can change your attitude towards them. Dad was a bit of a prickly pear! Dad was the strict one. Mom tried to be strict, but we knew what we could get away with her. It was pretty much a father rules the roost sort of thing.”
Following Isabell’s dementia diagnosis in 2013, the couple relocated to a long-term care facility in Norfolk, Virginia.
Preble found it upsetting to watch his wife struggle with dementia, and he and Isabell were regrettably separated by rooms. Isabell, fortunately, was still able to recall him.
Laurie shared: “Sometimes, we’d have to tell her to focus and look but when she looked and knew it was dad, she’d get that little smile.”
Preble made a touching plea as he approached his 96th birthday. He requested taking one more sleep With Isabell, his wife.
The staff arranged for the couple to spend a few hours lying next to one another.
Laurie sated, “There was not a single word spoken between the two of them. They held hands and just fell asleep. I told dad, ‘This is mom’s birthday present for you.’ He was just so happy that he got to take his nap with her.”
On October 25, a few days later, Laurie was informed that it was time to say her final goodbyes to her mom.
She took her dad inside so they could have their final goodbyes together.
Laurie told: “He held her hand, and it was just so tender. I asked him if he wanted to stay after the prayers, and he shook his head. I said, ‘Okay, but you know that means you’re going to have to let go of her hand?’ I was crying, and he was crying.”
Later that day, Isabell passed away, and Preble died a few hours later.
Amazingly, the pair, whose birthdays were separated by 14 days, passed away only 14 hours apart.
The formula for her parents’ 70-year marriage was revealed by Laurie.
“Mom and dad really lived out that, if you make a commitment, and even though life gets rough or life gets in the way, you work through life, and you live your life together.”