Isabell Whitney and Preble Staver shared a strong and close relationship until their very end.
According to People, the couple who met fell in love during World War II even died on the same day within hours from each other. Just days before their passing in October 2017, they even shared their last nap together.
Whitney and Staver met on a blind date in Philadelphia in the 1940s. When the war began, Whitney became a war veteran nurse in the Navy stationed in Maryland and Staver served as a marine. The two eventually reunited and tied the knot on February 15, 1946. The couple went on to have five children and shared a beautiful marriage.
Speaking to People, the children opened up about their loving parents and their relationship with them. “They were great people. Mom really taught me that you can’t change another person but you can change your attitude towards them. Dad was a bit of a prickly pear!” said Laurie Staver Clinton, the late couple’s 62-year-old daughter. “Dad was the strict one. Mom tried to be strict, but we knew what we could get away with her. It was pretty much a father rules the roost sort of thing,” she continued.
The children stated that the family had a busy and peaceful life throughout the years. With Staver working as a lobbyist and banker, the family often moved from city to city. In 1975, the family was hit by a tragedy and it changed Staver forever.
The couple lost their son, Naples and Staver was heavily impacted by the loss. “At that point, we began to really see a softer side of my dad. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their kids, and that really took a toll on my folks, but it also brought them together. Something like that can either tear a couple apart, but they made a pact to get through it together. They really were each other’s support team,” recalled Clinton.
The loss brought the couple closer to each other and they supported each other through thick and thin. In 2013, Whitney started showing signs of dementia and the couple was moved into a long-term care facility in Norfolk. Staver could not watch his wife struggling and was forced to stay in separate rooms. However, their love for each other did not diminish.
Despite being in different rooms, Isabell and Preble often found the sweetest of ways to express their affection for each other. “They just found another way to express their love. Dad, even after he stopped walking and was in a wheelchair, he would wheel himself down to the Memory Care Unit and go visit mom,” Clinton said.
Their relationship grew stronger while they were away from each other stated the kids. “When I would reunite them, they always, the first thing they’d do was put their hands out and hold each other’s hand and tell each other they loved each other,” stated Clinton.
On Staver’s 96th birthday, his only wish was to take a nap with his wife. Their daughter made arrangements for the two to spend time together. They slept for three hours and Whitney surprised everyone by singing the full Happy birthday song without a missing a word.
Soon, Clinton was informed that her mother was nearing her end. She approached her father’s room where the couple sat together. “He held her hand, and it was just so tender. I asked him if he wanted to stay after the prayers, and he shook his head,” Clinton continued.
When it was time for him to go, Staver gently let go off his wife with a broken heart. “It just about broke my heart because that was a tender side of my dad I wasn’t used to seeing, and I wasn’t used to him being so gentle,” recalled Clinton. Whitney passed away on 25 October, 2017, and 14 hours later, Staver breathed his last.