After 70 years of marriage, an Ohio couple passed away within 15 hours of one another other this weekend, at the ages of 91 and 92. Helen and Kenneth Felumlee, who had eight children and many more grandkids, were introduced as teenagers by Kenneth’s ex-girlfriend, who was a friend of Helen’s. After three years of dating, they eloped in 1944 with barely enough money in their pockets to pay the $2 courthouse fee. For weeks afterward, they lived in separate homes because they were so nervous about telling their parents that they’d married.
The pair worked hard to keep their big family afloat, and couldn’t resist helping others in their community along the way. Helen assisted in caring for families in need in their neighborhood. Between balancing several jobs, Kenneth found time to help friends whose cars had broken down or who needed a hand, and even taught Sunday school with his wife. After they retired in 1983, they traveled across the country by bus.
A few years ago, Kenneth’s leg was amputated because of circulation problems, and Helen became his caretaker. Even as she grew sick herself, she continued to tend to him until three weeks before their deaths. “She was so weak, she could hardly do it,” their daughter Linda told the Zanesville Times Recorder. “But she was still pushing his chair; she was still filling his water cup.” When Helen became very weak, Kenneth “would just reach out and grab her hand, but he would keep his head down because he couldn’t stand to see her hurting,” said Linda.
The pair even held hands while eating breakfast together, and hadn’t spent a night apart in 70 years.
Helen passed away on Saturday morning, and Kenneth followed about 15 hours later. Linda told the Times Recorder, “We knew when one went, the other was going to go. We wanted them to go together, and they did …[Kenneth]was ready. He just didn’t want to leave her here by herself.”
Silly Hollywood romantic comedies have nothing on these two.