Couple married 62 years dies hours apart

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A California couple married for 62 years died just the way they lived, together. Their story reads like a Hollywood movie, but their love was real.

It's a love story, about as real as they come. All Don wanted was to be with his beautiful wife.

To know how this love story ends, you have to go to the beginning, when fate brought Don and Maxine Simpson together. Don was born in North Dakota, and studied civil engineering, a career path that would eventually land him in Bakersfield, and closer to future love of his life, Maxine.

They met in a bowling alley and married a few years later, a simple side to their story and life that was anything but.


The pair was involved with Rotary, YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Club. Don became one of the founder's and longest-running members of the Bakersfield Racket Club. A place where people say he just belonged.

Don and Maxine traveled the world together, adopted two boys along the way and eventually settled down. Married almost 62 years, everything was done together.

"They left this world together," said their granddaughter Melissa Sloan.

That's what makes this story even more unbelievable. It was about two weeks ago. Don was at home when he fell, breaking his hip. The family took Don to the hospital, but his health was quickly declining.

Around the same time, the cancer his wife was battling for years also progressed.

"I told my sister on the phone, we got one shot to get them together," said Sloan.

Their family knew they couldn't keep them apart. So she moved them to a spare bedroom in her home.

"We transferred them here, and put them together, we had their beds side-by-side," she said. "And grandma woke up and saw him, and they held hands and they knew that they were next to each other."

But what no one knew is how they would leave this world.

"I knew in my heart, before I even got there, this is what's supposed to happen. Grandma and grandpa are supposed to be together and grandma and grandpa are going to die together," said Sloan.

And that's exactly what happened.

"Seven o'clock, I could hear through the monitor, her take two last breaths and I came down and checked on her, and she had passed," said Sloan.

Maxine was gone.

"I walked them out with her body walked back in to check on grandpa and he quit breathing. As soon as her body left the room, he left with her," said Sloan.

The man who married the love of his life more than 60 years ago, only hours behind in death.

"It's just amazing, it really is amazing. It's a true love story," said Sloan.

An ending to a life, and love that was always together.


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