Family & Education

Husband and Wife Married for 71 Years Die on the Same Day

TIMEJuly 16, 2019

Family and friends are mourning the death of a Georgia couple who died on the same day after being married for 71 years.

The DeLaigle family confirmed Herbert, 94, passed away at 2:20 a.m. on July 12 while wife Frances, 88, departed at 2:20 p.m. local time. They lived much of their life in Waynesboro, 156 miles east of Atlanta.

“It’s amazing how they were together for 71 years and now they are together in heaven,” the family said in a statement obtained by WRDW.

The couple were known often hold hands when they were together, and there was a special reason for that, the couple told WRDW in 2018.

“With him being in the service a lot a lot of times he would be going a lot and, when he is home, I have always got his hand,” Frances said. “He was always loving and patient and good-hearted.”

The couple met each other at the White Way Cafe not long after World War II began, when Herbert was just 22 years old and Frances was 16 years old.

Frances was working at the cafe when Herbert arrived to make a purchase. He secretly wanted something not on the menu: a date.

“I kept seeing her going in and out, in and out and I had got my eyes set on her,” Herbert told WRDW back in 2018. “I finally got up the nerve to ask her if she would go out with me sometime.”

They went to the movies and kept dating for a year, until Herbert proposed to Frances, who said “of course.”

However, the couple nearly missed their wedding and were an hour late to the church. Thankfully, the preacher was able to perform the $5 ceremony quickly enough to avoid having to book another wedding time.

“What an amazing love story that is,” the family said.

The couple had six children, including Helen Iris DeLaigle, who posted a tribute to Herbert and Frances on social media.

“Me and Poppie Herb … I love my daddy,” Helen said on Facebook.

Helen said her father taught her very important lessons about life.

“A father’s job is not to teach his daughter how to be a lady,” she said. “It’s to teach her how a lady should be treated.”

The family said they will always remember Herbert’s and Frances’ advice on relationships: to “show your love” and “be there for each other.”

Richard Szabo
Richard Szabo is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years' experience in news writing at mainstream and niche media organizations. He has a specialty in business, tourism, hospitality, and healthcare reporting.