It’s a romance story seemingly plucked from the movies, but it was real-life for one Minnesota couple.
After more than 68 years together, they both died just one day apart. Corinne Louise Johnson died first, followed by the love of her life, Robert Evan Johnson, just 33 hours later.
“They went on their terms,” Brent Johnson, their youngest son, told Minneapolis TV station Kare 11.
Up until six months ago, the Johnsons were still living together in their small Nicollet County farm home where they raised their seven children.
Robert’s health began to decline after his cancer diagnosis. Shortly after he was hospitalized, Corinne joined him after suffering congestive heart failure.
Corinne died at 87 on Nov. 24, and Robert held on for one more day before passing. He was 88.
“When mom passed, they pulled the curtain between the two beds,” Beth Kinkeade, their daughter, told Kare 11. “He just stared at the curtain.”
“I sort of thought he looked like he could go for weeks,” their son Bruce Johnson, who is a cancer doctor, said. “As soon as mom died, he went downhill and died in a day. It’s hard to imagine it’s a coincidence.”
Corinne and Robert tied the knot on Oct. 20, 1951, when they were both in their late teens. They moved into an apartment above Swenson’s Norseland General Store for a year before relocating to Norseland Eastview Farm.
There, they raised cows, pigs and chickens and grew corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat for the next 67 years.
Corinne, devoted to her church, taught Sunday School and ended up working at a creamery, while her husband tended to the farm.
“ spent more than 68 years together and became each other’s physical and mental support in later years,” Robert’s obituary read.
“It seems only fitting that they would both pass into eternal life together, surrounded by those who loved them.”
Their funeral services are being held on Tuesday at the church they spent their lives attending, Scandian Grove Lutheran Church.
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