What image would you choose to depict love? Perhaps a mother gazing intently at her newborn child, or a couple sharing a tender moment on their wedding day?
Couple who married 70 years ago and stayed so in love that they held hands every day at breakfast die 15 hours apart
A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.
Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, died at 92 on April 12. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died the next morning.
The couple's eight children say the two had been inseparable since meeting as teenagers, once sharing the bottom of a bunk bed on a ferry rather than sleeping one night apart, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported.
In this picture taken in September 1941, Kenneth and Helen Felumlee pose nearly three years before their marriage in February 1944
When Helen Felumlee passed away at the age of 92 Saturday morning, her family knew her husband Kenneth Felumlee, 91, wouldn’t be slow to follow her. The couple couldn’t bear to be apart very long, and Kenneth passed away only 15½ hours after his wife of 70 years.
“We knew when one went, the other was going to go,” said daughter Linda Cody. “We wanted them to go together, and they did.”
After Kenneth had his leg amputated 2½ years ago because of circulation problems, Helen became his main caretaker, making sure he got everything he needed. She continued this up until three weeks before their deaths, when she became too frail to care for him.
“She was so weak, she could hardly do it,” Cody said. “But she was still pushing his chair; she was still filling his water cup.”
When Kenneth’s health started to fail, Helen began sleeping on the couch to be near him. The two hadn’t slept apart in 70 years, the family said. Years ago, when the two took an overnight ferry equipped with bunk-beds, they chose to both sleep on the bottom bunk rather than be separated for even a night.
Soon after Kenneth, Helen’s health also started to go downhill, and she was confined to a hospital bed near the end of her life. Kenneth took this particularly hard.
“He would just reach out and grab her hand, but he would keep his head down because he couldn’t stand to see her hurting,” Cody said.
Upon his wife’s death, Kenneth was ready to join her, family said. “She was staying strong for Dad and he was staying strong for her,” Cody said. “That’s what kept them going.”
Helen and Kenneth’s love story began when they were just 18 and 19 after Kenneth’s ex-girlfriend, a friend to Helen, introduced the two. They immediately hit it off, dating for three years before deciding to elope.
Lying to their parents, the two said they were taking a day trip to Kentucky to visit Kenneth’s old basketball coach. Heading to the courthouse with only $5 in their pockets, Kenneth and Helen arrived with barely enough to pay the $2 fee. The couple were wed Feb. 20, 1944, two days before Kenneth was legally old enough to get married. “He couldn’t wait,” son Jim Felumlee said.
When the couple returned, they were too nervous to tell their parents right away, so they lived separately several weeks until Kenneth developed the courage to break the news of their elopement.
“I would have liked to have been there for that conversation,” Cody said.
The Felumlees, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in February, died 15 hours apart from each other last week
They remained deeply in love until the very end, even eating breakfast together while holding hands, said their daughter, Linda Cody.
'We knew when one went, the other was going to go,' she said.
According to Cody, about 12 hours after Helen died, Kenneth looked at his children and said, 'Mom's dead.'
He quickly began to fade and was surrounded by 24 of his closest family members and friends when he died the next morning.
'He was ready,' Cody said. 'He just didn't want to leave her here by herself.'
The couple remained deeply in love until the very end, even eating breakfast together while holding hands
The pair had known each other for several years when they eloped in Newport, Ky., across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, on Feb. 20, 1944.
At two days shy of his 21st birthday, Kenneth was too young to marry in Ohio.
'He couldn't wait,' son Jim Felumlee said.
Kenneth worked as a railroad car inspector and mechanic before becoming a mail carrier for the Nashport Post Office.
He was active in his Nashport-Irville United Methodist Church as a Sunday school teacher.
Helen stayed at home, not only cooking and cleaning for her own family but also for other families in need in the area.
Kenneth and Helen pose in their later years, surrounded by their eight children
She taught Sunday school, too, but was known more for her greeting card ministry, sending cards for birthdays, sympathy and the holidays to everyone in her community, each with a personal note inside. 'She kept Hallmark in business,' daughter-in-law Debbie Felumlee joked.
When Kenneth retired in 1983 and the children began to leave the house, the Felumlees began to explore their love of travel, visiting almost all 50 states by bus. 'He didn't want to fly anywhere because you couldn't see anything as you were going,' Jim Felumlee said.
Although both experienced declining health in recent years, Cody said, each tried to stay strong for the other.
'That's what kept them going,' she said.
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The latest theme is Love Snap and appropriately enough it started on Valentine’s Day.
‘Welcome to the month of love. Now is the time to turn words into images. Don’t tell us who or where or what makes your heart sing—show us,’ writes National Geographic. ‘Photography is a powerful voice for all things, physical and metaphorical. How can the people and things you love be expressed with light, movement, and color? We challenge you to go beyond the saccharine-sweet clichés and show us the intimate and personal aspects of your ideas on love.
'We tend to be casual about using this powerful word, so stop for a moment and consider what love actually means to you. Now is the time to turn words into images. Don’t tell us who or where or what makes your heart sing—show us.
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The latest National Geographic theme is Love Snap and appropriately enough it started on Valentine's Day and runs for a month
'On the banks of the Ohio River, the Kentucky side, I watched as the shifting ice, momentarily formed a heart ringed in blue,' writes photographer Danielle Mussman
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'Photography is a powerful voice for all things, physical and metaphorical. How can the people and things you love be expressed with light, movement, and color.
'Your images can be superreal or dreamlike, journalistic or imagined; they can speak to a person or to a moment in time. We challenge you to go beyond the saccharine-sweet clichés and show us the intimate and personal aspects of your ideas on love.
'Elevate us. Surprise us! Inspire us with what you love, and we'll share it with the world.'
The assignment runs until March 7 and anyone can submit photos of the people and things they love expressed with light, movement and color, images that capture the beauty and wonder of L-O-V-E.
To see more images or participate, visit Love Snap.
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