People

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Human Interest

Husband Forced to Live in Separate Nursing Home as Wife Dies Weeks After Finally Reuniting: ‘She Is Lost Without Him’

Posted on

Facebook

Anita and Wolfram Gottschalk garnered national attention when being admitted into separate nursing homes left them with tearful visits. Sadly, Wolf passed away on Saturday, just weeks after being reunited with his beloved wife.

“We’re just grateful that they were able to get together when they could,” the couple’s son, Bill Gottschalk, tells PEOPLE.

Anita, 81, and Wolfram, 83, of Surrey, British Columbia, lived in separate nursing homes for more than eight months after Wolfram was hospitalized for congestive heart failure and officials declared that he needed more care than Anita was physically capable of giving, the family previously told PEOPLE.

Ashley Bartyik
Ashley Bartyik

“They can’t be apart. It’s devastating,” Gottschalk told PEOPLE at the time. “They’re so in love that they’ve got to be together all the time.”

The family pleaded with healthcare authority Fraser Health for months to reunite the couple, even enlisting the help of the public with a heartbreaking Facebook photo of the pair. In September, the two were placed in the same nursing home, Residence at Morgan Heights in south Surrey.

Gottschalk says the couple lived together for just a few weeks before Wolfram’s failing health landed him in the hospital. Gottschalk says he passed away on Saturday just after 5 p.m. with his devoted family by his side.

“She is lost without him,” Gottschalk tells PEOPLE of Anita and her husband. “[She wishes] they were united sooner.”

Ashley Bartyik
Ashley Bartyik

Gottschalk spoke of his father’s death in a recent Facebook post, writing that Wolfram passed away in his sleep at Peace Arch Hospital.

“He will be missed, he has brought me strength in my heart, body and soul. I cant explain, for my next journey in life,” he wrote.

He tells PEOPLE that his father will be cremated and he will sprinkle the man’s ashes in his “favorite fishing rivers.”

He adds that the family is “tired, hurting [and] missing” Wolfram. He says they are sad for their mother but relieved that Wolfram’s suffering is over.

The couple first captured the heart of the nation when their granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik, uploaded the Facebook photo of one of their many visits throughout the week. The image showed the pair both in tears, wiping their eyes as they cuddled close to each other.

Ashley Bartyik
Ashley Bartyik

More heartwrenching than the photo was the pair’s love story.

Bartyik previously told PEOPLE that her grandparents first met in Germany when their parents lived in the same apartment complex.

“They were married in Germany in 1954 after knowing each other for a couple months,” she says. “It was love at first sight, kind of a whirlwind romance.”

A few months after tying the knot, the pair moved to Canada where Wolfram worked as a brick layer and Anita worked in retail before becoming a homemaker.

RELATED VIDEO: WATCH: Couple of 62 Years Share Heartbreaking Farewell as They’re Forced to Live in Separate Nursing Homes

The couple’s son, Bill, describes his parents’ love as “phenomenal.”

“When they look at each other in the eyes, their eyes glow and they smile and they don’t even have to say anything,” he says.

“My eyes even get watery talking about it. They taught me the meaning of true love.”