‘Til Death Do Us Part: Harold and Ruth Knapke Die Together After 65 Years

By Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac is an editor and reporter who has worked on a variety of topics over the course of her ten years with The Epoch Times, including science, the environment, and local New York news. She is currently working with The Epoch Times edition based in Southern California.
August 26, 2013 Updated: August 26, 2013

Harold “Doc” Knapke, 91, and Ruth Knapke, 89, died in the same room several hours apart in Versailles, Ohio, on Aug. 11, 2013.

“They will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary together in heaven on August 20th,” reads an obituary for the couple. 

Mary and Wayne Wlodarski of Dayton, Ohio, wrote in the obituary guestbook to the family: “We are so sorry about your loss, and yet, there is something so touching that they are together even now. What a legacy of love, service, and beauty they leave behind in all of you!” 

The Dayton Daily News tells of the couple’s love that first bloomed during WWII. Ruthie Schmitz, as she was then known, had a crush on Harold Knapke in the third grade. They wrote to each other during his service in Germany during WWII; when he returned, as Mrs. Knapke would often say, “I let him chase me until I caught him!”

Their children told the newspaper they believe their father held on despite his illness so he could leave the world at the same time as his wife. He died first, and she followed 10 hours later.

The “Doc” received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree from Ball State University. He worked as a high school teacher, principal, coach, and athletic director for a combined 40 years. Mrs. Knapke was a secretary at the former West Elementary School in Fort Recovery, Ohio.

Steven Stump wrote in the obituary guestbook: “He was my favorite teacher, developing my love of Algebra. Without his direction and mentoring, I am sure I would not have achieved the level of success in life that I did.”

The couple leaves behind two sons, four daughters, 14 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac is an editor and reporter who has worked on a variety of topics over the course of her ten years with The Epoch Times, including science, the environment, and local New York news. She is currently working with The Epoch Times edition based in Southern California.