Floyd and Violet Hartwig had been married for 67 years, and they had been through a lot together.
The Fresno couple met in elementary school and began pursuing a romantic relationship years later in the 1940s in the midst of World War II. Floyd was in the Navy and was on leave when he and Violet first became seriously interested in each other.
The young couple wrote over 130 letters to each other during the remainder of Floyd’s deployment, and they were married in 1946. Two years later, Floyd was honorably discharged from the Navy.
Floyd took a job as a foreman on a farm and worked there until his retirement at age 65. He and Violet raised three children together.
“They worked side by side chopping cotton, feeding turkeys and supporting each other and supporting the children,” said their daughter, Donna Scharton.
As the couple grew older, they suffered from various health problems. Violet struggled with dementia and had suffered a few strokes, while Floyd had battled colon and bladder cancer, according to The Fresno Bee. Two weeks before his passing, Floyd was diagnosed with kidney failure.
Both Floyd and Violet were confined to hospital beds in their home but stayed next to each other while their children took care of them. Their children often noticed that the couple’s breaths were synchronized as they lay still.
On Feb. 11, the couple passed away within hours of each other. Floyd, who was 90, passed away while still holding onto his wife’s hand. Violet passed five hours later at 89 years old.
“I think that’s what kept them going … that they each had the other one,” said Scharton. “They didn’t want to go without each other.”
Scharton shared that her parents had wanted to pass together and that it seemed as if it was meant to be.
“We felt blessed because we knew that’s what they wanted,” she said. “That’s the only way it could end.”