Couple married for 70 years passed away on the same day

May 31, 2018
12:40 P.M.

Isabell Whitney and Preble Staver, who were married for seven decades, passed away within hours of each other, after sharing one last nap together.


People reported Staver died just 14 hours after his wife passed away on October 25, 2017.

They were World War II veterans, Whitney was a nurse in the Navy stationed in Maryland and Staver was a Marine. They met during a blind date in Philadelphia before signing up to help their country in the war.

The two reunited and married on February 15, 1946, five months after the end of the war. There began a 70-year-long companionship.

Laurie Staver Clinton, one of their five children, said that they were great individuals. Her mother believed that one cannot change another person, but can change his/her attitude towards them.

Whitney and Staver lived a busy life, raising five children and moving from one city to another. When they lost their son, who died while playing football, they grew closer to each other and their bond became stronger.

They stuck with each other through their ups and downs. They briefly lived in Bluffton, South Carolina, and finally moved to Virginia to be close to family members as they got older.


Whitney started showing signs of dementia and the family made a difficult decision to move the couple into a long-term care facility in Norfolk in 2013.

As his wife’s condition worsened, the husband became stressed. They were forced to stay in separate rooms in the building.

According to their daughter, Staver had become frustrated, but Whitney understood that he was having a hard time coping with her disease, but he had not lost an ounce of his love for her.

The couple found a different way to express their love. He would wheel himself down to the Memory Care Unit to visit his wife. They would always put their hands out when they would be reunited.

On Staver’s 96th birthday, he told Laurie that he wanted to have one more nap with his wife. The staff made arrangements to set aside a room at the facility to make it happen.

For almost three hours, the couple laid beside each other without speaking a single word. They just held their hands and fell asleep. They hadn’t done this since being placed in separate rooms.


A few days after Staver’s birthday, Laurie learned that her mother was approaching her final moments. She immediately rushed to the facility bringing her father to say his final goodbyes to his wife of over 70 years.

She said, “He held her hand, and it was just so tender. I asked him if he wanted to stay after the prayers, and he shook his head. I said, ‘Okay, but you know that means you’re going to have to let go of her hand.’ I was crying, and he was crying.”

Wheeling her father away from her mother was one of the most painful moments for Laurie.

Staver and Whitney were born 14 days apart – he was born on October 17th, and she was born on October 31, 1921. And then just 14 hours after Whitney’s death, Staver breathed his last.

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