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These True-Life Love Stories Are the Real Deal

Getty Images / Photothek / Florian Gaertner

At the end of their lives, their families told their beautiful tales

The stories of how we met our sweethearts are some of our favorites to tell. Whether it’s funny or wacky or poignant, a tale that ends after many decades of marriage or one that was cut short all too soon, almost everyone likes to tell about the seed that was planted the day they met the one they love. 

Sometimes, those stories are so good that they just have to be included in obituaries. Here are some of the greatest love stories from recent Legacy obituaries. 

A Montana story 

Lura Belle Pearson Milkovich’s obituary is a treasure trove of storytelling, and it starts with the beginning of her lifelong love story: 

Hey teacher, where you going with those kids?" 
 
Those were the words yelled across the rippling waters of the Musselshell River in South Central Montana on a Spring Day in 1945, by a charismatic, young Air Force veteran, to an 18 year old angelic, blue-eyed blonde, as she led her students, lined up like ducklings behind her, on a field trip along the banks of the Musselshell. 
 
With those words, an epic, improbable--and wholly Montana-- love story, began. 

Milovich’s obituary continues the love story later:  

She spent much of the last days of her life, firmly gripping the hands of the love of her life, her husband of 71 years, the father of her children. Who addressed love letters to her as "Van Gogh"; who asked her, in her final days, "How's my girl?" who wept saying "She's the only one of her kind."  Read more

Wishes granted 

Eduardo C. La Rosa was married to his true love for almost 55 years, and his obituary shows how their match was destined from day one: 

Papa and Mama tied the knot while in Cuanos after a very short courtship. Mama never suspected that Papa liked her until one day they had a casual conversation where Mama told him that at 28 she never picked a boyfriend amongst the many suitors and that if the suitor was serious he should offer to marry right away, skipping the boyfriend-girlfriend stage. Papa then asked if Mama had read the note he wrote her the previous meeting, which she hasn't. When she did the note had 3 wishes: 1) "I Love You", 2) I'll Marry You", and 3) "I wish My First and Second Wishes will Come True". They were married on April 24, 1966. 

Their love continued until the day Eduardo died: 

On his last days he asked Mama "Will You Come To Heaven With Me?" and to us children "Take Care of Your Mother". All of us 5 children and with the grandchildren witnessed a love story that can not be matched. His last act was looking at Mama's eyes uttering his last words of "I Love You". Read more

His dark-haired beauty 

Not all great love stories begin when the lovebirds are young. Gilbert Nagel found love in assisted living, just a few years before his death: 

In the summer of 2013, Gilbert moved into Fleming Point living facility in Greece, N.Y. Yolanda Ristuccia, a retired hairdresser known as Yollie, moved into Fleming Point as well. Yollie being a hairdresser, never allowed her hair to gray. Gilbert always described looking over the balcony there, and saw a "dark-haired beauty" that stood out from the other white-haired Q-tip-esque women—it was love at first sight. He later took an elevator ride with Yolanda, was overcome by the smell of her White Diamonds perfume, and impulsively kissed her before he even knew her name! This was the beginning of the love story between Gilbert Nagel and Yolanda Ristuccia. 
 
After what was supposed to be a trip to New Jersey to visit family for Thanksgiving, Gilbert proposed to Yolanda from a hospital bed. Gilbert needed to have emergency heart surgery which kept them in N.J. for months that led to years. They married in N.J. on 1.4.2014, surrounded by family, Yolanda age 88 and Gilbert age 85. They enjoyed the remainder of their lives together. Gilbert was a truly devoted husband. When Yollie lost her sight, Gilbert reassured her by saying "I will be your eyes.”  
Read more

Love until the very end 

Some couples’ love stories are so deeply intertwined that they follow each other both in life and in death. Ron and Cathy Lynn died just one day apart: 

In February 1995, at the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, Cathy Behrens and Ron Lynn held hands and professed their love and commitment to one another, while friends and family encircled them. 

For nearly 25 years, they shared a life of joys, challenges, triumphs and sorrows. Their love for one another was unconditional and unapologetic. 

Earlier this month, their unconventional love story came to a bittersweet end when Cathy and Ron passed away hours apart: Cathy on the morning of Nov. 3 in a Memphis hospital of complications of multiple sclerosis, and her beloved Ron on Nov. 4 in their home after a long siege with cancer. 

Their shared obituary also tells the story of the day they met: 

When they met, she already required a wheelchair due to advancing multiple sclerosis. Ron saw beyond the chair: Cathy was a kind, confident woman with a beautiful smile who loved to laugh, enjoyed good food and wine and was just as crazy about dogs as he was. Read more

He swept her off her feet 

Raul and Maria Flores died on the same day, after being married for 60 years. Their love story started as he joked around with her: 

They met in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Raul was a tailor at a local shop where he first laid eyes on Maria. He would make sure he was outside sweeping when Maria would walk down the sidewalk. He tried getting her attention by asking her "te cepillo el pelo?" [“I brush your hair?”] as he motioned with the broom. He would try to sweep her feet as she walked by until he finally swept her off her feet. They raised their children in California and later moved to Texas. Read more

Like a love story in a Hollywood movie 

Wartime romances are frequently recounted in obituaries, and Mary L. “Billie” Reger’s is lovingly told: 

She enlisted in the Navy after World War II broke out and served as a Registered Nurse and Lieutenant, J.G. in the Hawaiian Islands, treating troops gravely injured in South Pacific battles.  She met the love of her life on Maui in a love story like one in a Hollywood movie: on an island with 250,000 servicemen and 5 female nurses, she met Navy pilot Al Reger as they left morning Mass during Lent. Their romance blossomed during walks in the sand, jeep rides in the mountains and acrobatic flights in his two-seater plane.  After the war, she moved to his hometown of Minneapolis and became Maternity Ward Supervisor at St. Mary’s Hospital.  They were married in 1949. Read more