PLATTE, S.D. — It’s said that love is the strongest force in the world. If that’s true, then a married couple from South Dakota proves that not even death is strong enough to keep loved ones apart.
A funeral will be held in Platte, South Dakota, on Monday for a couple married for more than six decades who died just minutes apart on the same day and in the same room.
Henry and Jeanette De Lange both died on July 31, just 20 minutes apart in their room at a nursing home.
The De Langes had been married for 63 years.
Lee De Lange, one of their sons, told CNN affiliate KSFY there was a divine quality to having both parents pass at nearly the same time.
“We’re calling it a beautiful act of God’s providential love and mercy,” he said. “You don’t pray for it because it seems mean but you couldn’t ask for anything more beautiful.”
Jeanette De Lange, 87 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, died first at 5:10 p.m. Family gathered with her was reading the Bible at the time.
“We read Psalm 103. We didn’t quite get done,” said Lee De Lange. “She passed away very, very peacefully. Incredibly peacefully.”
Lee said his brother told his father, 86 and fighting prostate cancer, “mom’s gone to heaven” and that he didn’t have to fight anymore. He could let go and join her if he wished, the son added.
“My brother Keith said to my dad, said ‘mom’s gone to heaven. You don’t have to fight anymore, you can go too if you want’. He was laying in bed. He, for the first time, opened his eyes, looked intently over where mom was. Closed his eyes back down. Laid back down, died about 5 or 10 minutes after that,” Lee said.
Twenty minutes later, at 5:30 p.m., Henry De Lange did just that. His children remember him briefly opening his eyes and looking at his wife before he died.
Of course this isn’t the first time that a married couple has passed away on the same day.
Earlier this summer George and Ora Lee Rodriguez, married for 58 years, died a few hours apart at their home in San Antonio, surrounded by family — and holding each other’s hands.