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Couple married for 71 years dies within minutes of each other

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MEDINAH, Ill. — An Illinois couple died within minutes of each other, just five days after celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ruth, 90, and Bob Kretschmer, 92, spent their last days side-by-side in hospice beds at their Medinah home.

Ruth, who had Alzheimer’s disease, stopped breathing at about 10 a.m. on Friday. Bob, who was facing lung cancer, died just moments after learning of his wife’s death.

“It was as if he was released from his duty. As soon as he heard mom declared at 10:25, dad was declared at 10:26,” daughter Ruthann Koenig said. “I believe to the bottom of my soul he hung on for her.”

Bob served in World War II and earned two Purple Hearts. Koenig described his death as his “End of Watch.”

Ruth went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and took courses at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

They are survived by their son and daughter, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.