WYANDOTTE, Mich. -
The couple's children say it seems fitting that they died within a few hours of each other.
"He said he saw her coming down a stairway, and the first time he saw her he said he was in love with her and he was going to marry her," said Gretchen Wenk, the couple's daughter.
Because William was an Episcopalian and Edna was a Catholic, they eloped Dec. 31, 1936. They raised six children.
"The example they set was one of faith in God, giving to the community, community service," said Conrad Kreger, the couple's son.
William worked long hours in business and politics. He was Wyandotte's mayor in the 1950s and rubbed elbows with powerful people. None of them was as powerful as Edna.
"She ran the house, I would say. She was the glue that kept everything together," said Wenk.
Edna was in her 60s when she received a degree from the University of Michigan. She traveled the world with her husband and was healthy well into her 90s. in recent years, dementia had weakened Edna. She was in hospice care, still in the condo she shared with William.
"My dad always kissed my mother goodnight and told her he loved her. Every night. Even when she was comatose,"
William was healthy. However, this past Thursday he fell in the bedroom and hit his head. His family was with him when he died.
"I said, 'Dad, it's OK to go. Make a place for mother," said Conrad.
Edna passed away just 12 hours later. She was 97. William was 96.
The Kreger family considers their joint funeral a celebration of romance that lasted three quarters of a century.
"Love. Compromise. Support. Those would be the adjectives I can think of," said Conrad.
Wenk says they could not live apart.
"It's a love story and we know he could not have lived without her," she said.
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