When 94-year-old Helen Auer drew her last breath, her husband, Joe, leaned over her body to kiss her goodbye.
The 100-year-old man whispered, “Helen, call me home.”
Just hours later, Joe died.
The Cincinnati, Ohio couple’s bond was truly unique, according to their 10 children. They never expected Joe to live much longer after Helen’s death.
The Auers, whose marriage lasted 73 years, lived through the Great Depression and World War II together.
When Joe prepared to step onto Utah Beach on D-Day in 1944, he placed a photograph of Helen and his first two children in his pocket.
The image carried Joe through three years of combat in Europe, and he kept it with him after the war. The crumbling snapshot was still in Joe’s wallet when he died, and it will be buried with him.
The Auers’ children, long since grown into adults, remember their mother as loving and funny, the glue that held their family together. Joe was a reserved, deeply religious man who believed his kids were a gift from God.
The Auers smiled in one of their last photographs taken together.
Youngest child Jerry, 52, says his parents worked through distance and financial difficulty to maintain their love story.
He says, “They were simple, humble people. They wanted nothing and got everything in return.”
“If somebody were thinking of getting married, they could do a lot worse than to look at my parents.”
And Joe’s beliefs are true, he was a blessed man.
The couple saw the birth of 16 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Joe and Helen’s funeral will take place in front of the same altar that saw their marriage, many decades ago.