She Frees Her Husband of 79 Years from Nursing Home, Takes Care of Him Herself


Merle and Stella Keena’s story just might be the most heartwarming thing you hear today.

The couple has been married for 79 years. Stella, now 95, was 17 years old at the time. “Yeah, she was a cute chick back then,” Merle, now 101, laughed.

“I’m Norwegian and he’s Irish. They said it would never last,” Stella said.

Despite the many trials their marriage has faced over almost eight decades, their love for each other hasn’t wavered.

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At one point, the couple was separated when Merle was put into a nursing home. Merle described it as the “worst experience I ever had.”

Seeing her husband unhappy drove Stella to action. She couldn’t just leave her husband there to suffer.

“I brought him home. I take of him,” she said. She does as much as she’s able to do and Merle is much happier now that he’s back with his wife.

“I do a little bit of cooking and I see that he gets good food ’cause that’s what he likes. And he gets what he wants. And it works,” she said.

She recognizes that she isn’t able to do everything, but they luckily have a great support system that helps out.

Sam Noe, a boy who lives in the neighborhood, makes sure that the snow around their house is blown and even takes out the trash for them.

“Sam, he’s there when you need him,” Merle said. Sam said that he was just following in his family’s footsteps by helping people out in the neighborhood.

He tries to deny the money the Keenas offer him for his help, but says that he often loses those fights.

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Their grandchildren also help out by running errands and doing other household chores like buying groceries and doing laundry. “I have a lot of good help,” Stella said.

“I’m happy and he’s happy and when he’s happy, I’m happy,” she said. Merle sweetly responded, “I’m happy when she’s around.”

The Keena’s story is one of those love stories that restores your hope in long lasting marriage. They’ve truly found their fairy tale ending.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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