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Couple married for 70 years die 15 hours apart

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An elderly couple from Ohio who were married for 70 years passed away within 15 hours of each other this weekend.

Helen Felumlee died aged 92 and her husband, Kenneth, 91, just hours later on Sunday morning.

The couple's love story began after they were introduced by a friend when Helen was 19 and Kenneth was 18. Then, after dating for three years, they decided to elope.

The pair lied to their parents and said they were taking a day trip to Kentucky to visit Kenneth’s old basketball coach, but really they headed to the courthouse and were married February 20th 1944 - two days before Kenneth was legally old enough to get married.

They remained living in their respective parents' houses as they hadn't managed to tell their families that they'd decided to get married.

They went on to have a large family that included eight children - five boys and three girls.

Talking to the Zanesville Times Recorder, their daughter Lindy Cody said: "We knew when one went, the other was going to go. We wanted them to go together, and they did."

Both had recently suffered health issues. Kenneth had heart problems and had lost a leg to poor circulation, so Helen began to take care of him, which she did until three weeks before she died.

While Helen slept on the couch to be near him, she later began to get frail and deteriorate, which Kenneth found difficult to watch, so he would regularly grab her hand but not look.

About 12 hours after Helen died, Kenneth looked at this children and said, “Mom’s dead,” Cody recalled. His own health then declined rapidly.

Cody said: "It was a wonderful going away party. He was ready. He just didn’t want to leave her here by herself."

According to the family, the couple hadn’t slept apart in 70 years and years ago, when they'd taken an overnight ferry equipped with bunk-beds, they chose to both sleep on the bottom bunk rather than be separated for even a night.

(Images: AP)

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