Floyd, 90, and Violet Hartwig, 89, were childhood sweethearts who remained inseparable right up until the last moments that they spent together. The couple married in August 1947 while Floyd was on leave from the Navy after the Second World War. During his absence, they kept in touch by sending 131 letters in two years.
Floyd had even written to Violet – who he called Vi – five times in one day, before he was discharged several months after getting married and settling down in Easton, California.
One of his letters, according to Fresno Bee, said:
“I heard our song this evening and it sure did make me homesick for you. Honey, did you ever get a record of it? I certainly hope so as I want to listen to it and have you in my arms at the same time.”
The couple had three children and lived on a 20-acre ranch as farmers. Floyd had battled colon and bladder cancer while Violet had dementia and suffered a number of strokes, but their deteriorating conditions only strengthened their bond.
Their daughter Donna Scharton explains in an emotional video that even when her father was in bad health, he was only concerned for his wife. Up until January, a month before they died, they had been living together independently.
“I think the thing that we think about them the most was how hardworking they were,” recalled the couple’s daughter, Donna Scharton. “They worked side by side chopping cotton, feeding turkeys, and supporting each other and supporting the children. And you had a sense that they had a connection, and I think that connection just came more and more, especially in the last months of their lives.”
She said Floyd “would tell the doctor, ‘I’m OK but I want her fixed.’” At that time, he couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without being short of breath and was told he only had two weeks to live due to kidney failure.
As Violet’s health continued to decline, the family began to discuss getting her hospice care. Then they got a call from the doctor that left them stunned. Floyd had kidney failure. The doctor only gave him two weeks to live. Since he had to go to the hospital, the family brought Violet there so the pair could spend their final days together.
When they knew Floyd’s time was drawing near, the whole family – three children, four grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren – surrounded the couple. It was clear Floyd was in intense pain and didn’t have much time left, so the family pushed the couple’s hospital beds close and put their hands together.
On 11 February, Floyd passed away holding Violet’s hand and she died five hours later. Donna says that this was what they had wanted.
She said“We felt blessed because we know that is what they wanted. When we went to the funeral home and saw the two caskets, it was meant to be and that was the only way it could end. They never, ever asked for anything,” she added. “All they ever wanted was their family and it was amazing that they got that in the end.”
In honor of their legacy, Scharton is holding onto warm memories of her mother and father.
“Mom did a lot of sewing – made our clothes and stuff,” Scharton said. “She joined the PTA at school and she loved doing her crossword puzzles. They were very devoted and when dad came home we’d always have supper together. I remember them kissing each other goodbye every morning,” Scharton added. “I remember mom called him Blondie because he had such pretty blonde hair and blue eyes,” Scharton continued. “What I want people to get out of this story is my dad’s commitment to serving his country and loving his family. “What we felt was keeping them alive was the will to live, and that they didn’t want to let go of each other.”
After 67 years of marriage, it was time for Violet to say goodbye to her beloved husband. She sat by his bed and held his hand as he took his final breaths.
As the family began to mourn, though, their daughter looked over at the couple, and what she saw took her breath away… A real-life “Notebook” couple died hand-in-hand within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage.
Sources: So Share This