Marriages are made in heaven, is a statement that has been written and spoken about a lot, but only a few have understood its meaning better than Mary and Wilford Kepler who were not only married for 73 years but also stuck to each other through thick and thin.
During World War II, Mary wrote to Wilford, and they survived wars, depressions and recessions and now in their final moments, 94-year-old Wilford and 92-year-old Mary from Wisconsin were able to enter into glory together, a privilege which many do not have.
On April 8, Mary tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined at home, and on April 12, Wilford fell and hit his head, and both he and Mary were admitted to Froedtert Hospital. “They were aware of what was going on, and they were at peace with it,” granddaughter Natalie Lameka said.
Wilford too tested positive for COVID-19, and the hospital decided to keep them together and on April 18, Mary died six hours after Wilfred— they were able to be together in life and in death.
“After more than 70 years of marriage, Wilford and Mary Kepler passed away within six hours of each other,” the hospital shared in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“Both had tested positive for COVID-19. Our staff at Froedtert Hospital pushed their beds together so they could hold hands during their final hours.”
“They had been holding hands and that was just heartbreaking to hear but also heartwarming to hear,” Lameka said. “And we were just so thankful they were together and they were aware they were together.”
“It was definitely hard. But it was bittersweet.”
Although only a few people were allowed due to the coronavirus restrictions, they were able to talk to loved ones through video chats and phone calls.
“They were able to say, ‘I love you,’” Lameka said.
They will be remembered as a loving couple, and according to their son Michael Kepler, they did all the things that good parents do.
“They took care of their children,” he said. “They lived a good life, and they got their kids educated. They did the things that most people would want to do for their children and for their families.”
Mary died due to the coronavirus, while Wilford’s cause of death was due to complications arising from his fall. The couple will be buried in a cemetery near Boaz, close to where both Mary and Wilford grew up.
What a beautiful story of true love and a strong marriage which is so rare to be seen in these times. They truly embodied the saying “Till death do us part.”