After 63 Years of Marriage, Couple Dies 20 Minutes Apart

Charlie McKenna | August 8, 2016
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After 63 years of marriage, South Dakota couple Henry and Jeanette De Lange left this earth together, just 20 minutes apart.

Henry was an 86-year-old Korean War veteran battling prostate cancer. Jeanette, 87, was the mother of their five children and a music teacher. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years.

Jeanette spent her last few years at the Platte Care Center, where Henry would visit her several times a day. When it became clear that they were both approaching their final moments, Henry asked to be checked into the nursing home, and facility staff put the pair in the same room.

Their son, Lee De Lange told the story of their last hours.

“Wednesday, when we checked [dad] in, he said, 'I don't know how many more days I have, Lee. How many more days the good Lord will have me here,'" De Lange recalled.

On Sunday, July 26, Henry and Jeanette’s five children gathered around them, and the doctors told them that Henry and Jeanette were both very close to death. Finally, at 5:10 in the evening, Jeanette’s heart gave out. Lee recalled:

We read Psalm 103. We didn't quite get done. She passed away very, very peacefully. Incredibly peacefully. 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…

We're calling it a beautiful act of God's providential love and mercy. You don't pray for it because it seems mean but you couldn't ask for anything more beautiful.

But amazingly, that wasn't the end of the story. KSFY reports it wasn't until after his father had passed away that De Lange realized something else had happened:

"[Karen] said 'the time was 5:10 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. and look at the clock'. So I looked at the clock and it said 5:30. That's odd. I looked at the watch on my wrist, it said 5:55 p.m.. It stopped at 5:30, the exact time dad passed away," Lee said. 

The battery-operated clock on the wall stopped. Something they just can't explain. 

"Amazing. A sign from God that was the right time."

Henry and Jeanette’s funeral will be held at Platte Christian Reformed Church, where they were devoted parishioners. 

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