A Pennsylvania couple married for 66 years died 14 hours apart at an assisted living facility on Sunday, Erie.com reported.
The couple lived in separate rooms at Walnut Creek Healthcare and Rehabilitation. When one of her grown children once asked why, Gerry Kubiak said that having their father with her from morning until night “was enough,” Erie.com reported.
Despite the separation, Bob Kubiak visited his wife nightly, kissing her seven times on each cheek -- one time for each of their seven children -- a tradition he started when their children were young.
“My mom would roll her eyes but she would let him do it,” Dana Kubiak, one of the couple’s sons, told Erie.com. “Dad did it for years, until Mom took a turn for the worse.”
Bob Kubiak had congestive heart failure, while Gerry Kubiak was in hospice care due to complications from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
“We were in my mother’s room Saturday night keeping vigil and most of us decided around 2 a.m. to go home,” Don Kubiak told Erie.com. “My sister stayed, and at 5 a.m. she went over to Dad’s room and found out he had passed away.”
Many of Gerry Kubiak’s children were in her room when a hospice nurse and family members told her about her husband’s death, Erie.com reported.
“She couldn’t open her eyes but she could hear,” Don Kubiak said. “She audibly responded to that. Over the next few hours, it seemed that she was more comfortable with the idea of letting go.”
Bob and Gerry Kubiak met during the late 1940s. They were married and raised a family. Six of their children grew to maturity; a seventh child died as a toddler.
The Kubiaks both worked. Bob Kubiak was employed in human resources management, and Gerry Kubiak worked as a registered nurse at hospitals and nursing homes. She would take the overnight shifts to accommodate her family’s schedule, Erie.com reported.
In 2012, they each suffered falls that were severe enough for them to be admitted to an assisted living center.
Bob Kubiak would check on his wife while she slept, including the night before he died.
“A nurse told me that he was roaming the halls, trying to open the door to Mom’s room when we were in there with her, though he didn’t know we were there,” Dana Kubiak told Erie.com. “But he didn’t open it. He sensed something.”