People

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Human Interest

Minnesota Toddler’s 91-Year-Old Best Friend Dies Just Days After Their Last Visit

Posted on

Erling Kindem and Emmett Rychner a week before Erling passed away
Anika Rychner

Although 91-year-old WWII vet Erling Kindem is gone, Minnesota toddler Emmett Rychner will never forget his best friend.

The unlikely duo first struck up a friendship when they lived next door to each other in Farmington, Minnesota. The besties spent their time drawing pictures, riding bikes and talking. When Kindem moved to a retirement home in 2014, Emmet’s parent’ drove him over for visits.

Sadly, Kindem died of heart failure on Saturday after five months in hospice care, his 67-year-old son, Charlie Kindem, confirmed to ABC News.

“Emmett was the only kid on the block. There wasn’t any other kids, so he would come over and knock on Dad’s door,” Charlie told ABC. “And he would say, ‘Can Erling come out and play?’ ”

“[Dad] just made friends with everybody. He had all kinds of friends.”

Emmett, who is about to turn 6, visited Kindem three days before he died, his mother Anika Rychner confirmed to PEOPLE.

Apparently he also read the Lord’s Prayer to the ailing man.

Emmett’s mother says her young son will always remember the fun times they had together.