After 75 years of marriage, a beloved couple died within just hours of each other in Canada.
Jean, 94, and George Spear, 97 – who first met during World War II – both died last Friday, the Ottawa Citizen reported. They had celebrated their 75th anniversary less than a month ago, on August 22.
According to the Citizen, Jean was admitted to the Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottowa, Ontario, on Tuesday, Sept. 12 after developing pneumonia. On Thursday, Sept. 14, George was admitted to the hospital after falling into a deep sleep.
Before hospital administrators were able to reunite the couple on the same floor, Jean died at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, and George passed away at 9:45 a.m. local time.
Family members told the newspaper that the couple did speak, one last time, on the phone on Wednesday.
“We tell stories to make ourselves feel better. But this defies any sort of logic. We were overwhelmed by the suddenness of it,” said Jean and George’s daughter, Heather Spear.
The couple met in August 1941 at a London dance hall when Jean was an 18-year-old English firefighter and air raid warden, and George was a 21-year-old Canadian soldier.
The next year, they were married, said the Citizen. Reflecting on their early days of romance, Jean said in 2006 – according to the outlet – “When you met a boy, you made the most of every moment because you just didn’t know when or if you’d meet again. There was a stimulation about it, a wonderful, wonderful excitement that is hard to describe and hard to understand if you weren’t there. The worry sharpened your senses.”
Afterwards, George returned to his native Canada, making secret arrangements for Jean to be brought by the Red Cross to the country in a naval convoy in 1994. A year after her arrival, she helped found the ESWIC (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada) club for war brides. The couple also became parents: first to Heather in 1947, and then to Ian in 1950.
Of his parents, Ian Spear told the Citizen, “There was a respect for each other’s interests. Each recognized that the other needed those interests to make them happy.”