California Couple Married for Nearly 75 Years, Die in Each Other’s Arms.
The love story of Jeanette and Alexander Toczko is one that is simple and epic at the same time.
The couple, both born in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1919, met when they were just 8 years old and immediately started dating. Eighty-eight years later, after nearly 75 years of marriage, the pair were just as enamored with each other as the day they met.
“My dad carried around a picture of my mother in her Holy Communion outfit in his wallet,” Aimee Toczko-Cushman, the couple’s daughter, told ABC affiliate KGTV.
Finding it difficult to spend a moment apart, Jeanette, 96, and Alexander, 95, had one shared hope as they reached their golden years: to die in each other’s arms. Just shy of their 75th wedding anniversary, the Toczkos’ final wish was fulfilled.
“Their hearts beat as one from as long as I can remember,” Toczko-Cushman said.
Married in 1940, the lovebirds spent their first decades of marriage working in New York City and traveling the world, eventually moving to San Diego in the early 1970s.
Under the California sun, their enduring love affair continued without issue, until this year.
“He must have fallen. He broke his hip,” said Richard Toczko, the couple’s son, about his dad, who was playing golf daily until his accident. “He was going fast.”
Not wanting to separate their parents in their last moments together, Richard and Aimee had hospice bring Alexander’s bed into the couple’s home and set it right beside his wife’s. As Alexander’s health faded, Jeanette became weaker as well.
During another day of holding her husband close, Jeanette asked her children for the date.
“She kept asking us, ‘What is today, what is today?’ We said it was June. She said it’s June 29th, and June 29th is their 75th wedding anniversary,” said Toczko-Cushman.
While it was still a few days shy of the couple’s anniversary, the children decided to pretend it was the 29th and give their parents the anniversary party they deserved, filling the soul mates’ bedroom with balloons and flowers.
“And we said happy anniversary, and my mother was thrilled to death because it was their anniversary and she knew that he was going and that they had made it to 75 years,” said Toczko-Cushman.
Shortly after the celebration, on June 17, Alexander died in the comforting grip of his wife’s arms.
“He died in her arms, which is exactly what he wanted. I went in there and told my mother he was gone; she hugged him and she said, ‘See, this is what you wanted. You died in my arms and I love you. I love you, wait for me, I’ll be there soon,’ ” said Toczko-Cushman.
Twenty-four hours later, Jeanette passed away.
The couple were buried on Monday, their true 75th anniversary, with a joint funeral and wedding anniversary ceremony.