Skip to main content

In this March 2014 photo provided by Cynthia Letson, Floyd and Violet Hartwig pose together in a yard in Easton, Calif.

Cynthia Letson/AP

After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together.

Sensing the couple was close to death, their children pushed their two hospice beds together and gently placed their father's hand in the mother's palm.

Floyd, 90, died first. Violet, 89, followed five hours later. They died Feb. 11 at home, just as they had wished, the family said.

Story continues below advertisement

"They wanted to go together," their daughter, Donna Scharton, said Thursday. "It was meant to be that way."

The two knew each other as children, growing up in the Central California farming community of Easton. Romance sparked at a local dance hall one night when Floyd, a decorated Navy sailor, was home on shore leave. They were married on Aug. 16, 1947, and while away Floyd showered Violet with affection through love letters the family cherishes.

Returning home for good, the two raised three children on their small farm, growing cotton and raising turkeys. Violet helped on the ranch and kept the house. She prepared breakfast early each morning for her husband, seeing him off to work as a ranch foreman and delivering eggs.

"They were dedicated to each other," Scharton said. "Even other people who met them said they had that connection."

The couple, who had four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, remained active until recently. Around the holidays, the family noticed that Violet's dementia had worsened, and in late January a doctor said Floyd's failing kidneys gave him two weeks to live.

The family moved the couches from the living room of their ranch house, making space for the hospice beds. Cynthia Letson said that after her grandfather passed, they told her grandmother that she could go, too. They told Violet that Floyd was waiting for her.

Letson said her grandparents are a positive example at a time with too many broken marriages.

Story continues below advertisement

"It would be nice if the world got back to the core of marriage," Letson said. "I don't think people realize that any more. They need to go back to the basics that marriage is forever."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter