Fairytale ending: Don and Maxine Simpson died within hours of each other, after being married for 62 years. Photo: Melissa Sloan
A couple who were married 62 years died four hours apart while lying next to each other, their family said.
Don and Maxine Simpson's granddaughter, Melissa Sloan, first shared the couple's story with KERO-TV and it quickly went viral.
“It’s absolutely beautiful, and the story is beautiful,” Sloan told the television channel.
Californian couple married 62 years die just hours apart
Don and Maxine Simpson shared an amazing life, and died just four hours apart from each other. Their granddaughter Melissa Sloan photographed their last days, and shared these beautiful images. Photo: Melissa Sloan
Two weeks ago Don fell and broke his hip at home, and his health quickly deteriorated following the fall.
At the same time his wife Maxine’s cancer progressed, which she’d been battling since the start of the year.
Determined not to separate the pair, the couple's family kept them together in the same bedroom.
Granddaughter Melissa Sloan thinks this may be one of the earliest photographs of the couple together, potentially taken while they were dating. Photo: Melissa Sloan
“I told my sister on the phone, we got one shot to get them together,” Sloan told the ABC network.
“We kept them together, and had their beds side-by-side.”
It was clearly the right decision.
“Gram woke up and saw him, and held hands and they knew that they were next to each other,” said Sloan.
Not long after that, Maxine Simpson took her last breath.
“I could hear on the monitor, she took her last breath and I came to check. She had passed,” Sloan said.
The couple's granddaughter said that that once Maxine's body was removed, her grandfather died.
“I walked them out with her body, walked back in to check on grandpa and he quit breathing as soon as her body left the room. He left with her, and they passed four hours apart from each other.”
Sloan told the network it was meant to happen that way.
“I knew in my heart this is what’s supposed to happen. Grandma and grandpa are supposed to be together and grandma and grandpa are going to die together,” she said.
“It’s just amazing. It really is amazing," Sloan told the station. "It’s a true love story.”
Don and Maxine met at a bowling alley and married a few years later, settling in Bakersfield, California.
They shared a passion for travel, seeing the world together from early in their relationship.
She says her grandfather was a jokester, but they were both humble people who made lifelong friends wherever they went.
“People that knew them had so much respect for them,” says Sloan.
They shared their love of travelling and the outdoors with their grandchildren too.
“My grandparents shared their passion for travel with me and took me places in their motor home,” says Sloan.
“Gramps taught me to ride horses, ski, and play tennis. Grandma had love for swimming and she swam competitively in her childhood. She taught all her grandchildren to swim from an early age.”
Their passion for their family and each other never waned, says their granddaughter.
“The one thing that I can say for sure about them is the amazing love that they shared for one another,” says Sloan of her grandparent’s relationship.
“Nothing mattered more to Don in life than his beautiful wife and nothing concerned Maxine more than the well being of her husband, both genuinely concerned for one another.”
She says her grandparents had a special bond that people these days don’t have anymore.
“They had what this generation is missing, the compassion, understanding and unconditional love that a spouse should have for the other no matter what, til the end of time,” says Sloan.
With the LA Times