Real-Life 'Notebook' Couple Dies Hand-in-Hand

PHOTO: Floyd and Violet Hartwig died hand-in-hand after 67 years of marriage. PlayCynthia Letson
WATCH Real-Life 'Notebook' Couple Dies Hand-in-Hand

"They weren’t fancy. They were just decent people that were always committed to each other, no matter the situation."

That's how Donna Scharton remembers her beloved parents, Floyd and Violet Hartwig, before they died on Feb. 11.

The couple, who had been married for 67 years, died in their home in a very "Notebook"-like situation.

As the two laid close to one another, Scharton and other immediate family members pushed their beds close together as they all knew the end was near.

"My mom had dementia for the last several years and around the holidays we noticed she was going down," Scharton of Fresno, California said. "Then, I got a call from the doctor saying 'your dad has kidney failure and he has two weeks to live.' So, we decided to put them in hospice together."

Prior to their declining health, the Hartwigs owned a ranch in Easton, California. The two met while in grammar school and had developed a relationship upon Mr. Hartwig returning home from the Navy.

They married on Aug. 16, 1947 and had two other children, Carol and Kenneth, in addition to Scharton.

"My dad was in the Navy for six years," she told ABC News. "He worked for the J.B. Hill Company delivering eggs and then for a feed company. Mom stayed home, helped take care of the ranch, and cooked all the meals. She made breakfast for dad at 4:30 in the morning every day."

Scharton said that although his health was deteriorating, her father's main priority was the love of his life.

"He would tell the doctor, 'I'm okay I just want her fixed',” she added. "That was his concern; not how bad his pain was, but that he wanted my mom fixed."

"We could tell my dad was in a lot more pain," Scharton cried. "We said 'it's getting close,' so we pushed the hospital beds together as far as we could. We put their hands together, and my dad died holding my mom's hand. Mom was not coherent, but we told her that dad had passed away and that he was waiting for her. She died five hours later."

Scharton's daughter, Cynthia Letson, remembers her grandparents as simple people who just loved having their family beside them.

"They never, ever asked for anything," she said. "All they ever wanted was their family and it was amazing that they got that in the end."

In honor of their legacy, Scharton is holding onto warm memories of her mother and father.

"Mom did a lot of sewing – made our clothes and stuff," Scharton said. "She joined the PTA at school and she loved doing her crossword puzzles. They were very devoted and when dad came home we'd always have supper together.

"I remember them kissing each other goodbye every morning. I remember mom called him Blondie because he had such pretty blonde hair and blue eyes."

"What I want people to get out of this story is my dad's commitment to serving his country and loving his family. "What we felt was keeping them alive was the will to live, and that they didn’t want to let go of each other."