Lifestyle & Human Interest

Husband and Wife Die 33 Hours Apart After 68 Years of Marriage: 'It's Hard To Imagine It's a Coincidence'


In a time where divorce is common and love of self trumps all others, Robert “Bob” Johnson and his wife, Corinne Johnson, are a beautiful reminder of what real dedication and love look like.

Bob and Corinne have been together for an impressive 68 years, running a farm and raising seven kids. Corinne went to school to get a teaching degree and taught for a year before marrying into the farming life.

“Corinne and Robert Johnson were married on October 20, 1951 at Norseland Lutheran Church,” her obituary read. “She got her first taste of life as a farmer’s wife when Robert worked all day harvesting with his brother Jerry before their wedding ceremony.”

They eventually settled on a farm where they raised various crops and livestock and brought up a brood of their own. Devoted and involved parents, the two would travel far and wide to attend their kids’ sporting events, and Corinne threw herself into many local volunteer positions, including teaching Sunday School and 4-H projects.

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“Corinne loved to cook and bake for friends and family and was known for her homemade bread, lefse, cinnamon rolls and Swedish tea rings,” her obituary read. “She also enjoyed gardening, canning and sewing clothes for her family and quilts for Scandian Grove.”

It was on that farm that the two of them stayed, even after their children were all grown up. In fact, they lived there until just last year, when their health began to fail.

Bob found out he had cancer, and Corinne found out she had congestive heart failure a short while later. They were both in the hospital, and they passed away within 33 hours of each other — a fact that their children find intensely meaningful.

Brent Johnson, one of their sons, pointed out that their father, 88, had always put their 87-year-old mother before himself: “So it was only fitting that in the end he waited for mother to go first and then he passed away,” he told KARE.

“I sort of thought he looked like he could go for weeks,” Bruce Johnson, a cancer doctor, said. “As soon as mom died he went downhill and died in a day. It’s hard to imagine it’s a coincidence.”

“When mom passed, they pulled the curtain between the two beds, he just stared at the curtain,” Beth Kinkeade, another daughter, said. He teared up, but he didn’t have to wait long to follow her.

While there was some concern regarding what would happen when one of them passed and left the other behind, that never became an issue, as Bob followed his wife just 33 hours later.

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“Their plan was to not have us worry about that,” the couple’s youngest daughter, Lora Dennis, told KARE. “I think we all know that they’re in a better place.”

“They went on their terms,” son Brent Johnson said.

For a couple who owned property and spent their lives within miles of where they grew up, it seems only fitting that the two lovebirds were also remembered in a joint service at the church down the road from their beloved farm.

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