Kentuckiana couple married for 73 years dies hours apart

Published: Jan. 26, 2012 at 3:45 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Kentuckiana couple that's been married for more than 70 years are together till the end. Presley and Ethel Bradshaw died on Monday, just hours apart.

"I mean they were a true epitome of the word love," said Chasity Stoudemire, LPN unit manager at Meadowview Health and Rehab Center.

The Bradshaws lived for each other. "For a couple to be together for 73 years and still love each other as much today as they did on the day they met, it's just amazing," said Shannon Bass, Director of Admissions at Meadowview Health and Rehab Center.

The Kentucky natives, married in 1938, and have long called Louisville home. About four years ago Ethel came to stay at Meadowview Health and Rehab center, when her health started deteriorating.

"He would come several times a week to visit and just hold her hand, kiss all over her, tell her how much he loved her and missed her," said Bass.

Two years later, Presley decided he wanted to be with his wife and joined her at the nursing home.

"He was there to hold her hand, he would tuck her in bed at night and give her a kiss every night," said Bass.

Ethel was battling dementia, but that didn't stop Presley from singing her praises to anyone who would listen. "Every time you pass them, they would be sitting together, he would stop you and say 'have you met my blushing bride?'," said Bass.

Over the last few months, the nurses and staff at Meadowview knew the Bradshaws were on the decline. On Monday, in the couple's shared room, Presley took his last breathe at the age of 101. Just four hours later, Ethel passed away peacefully at the age of 99.

"Even though she couldn't talk to us and she couldn't tell us what was on her mind and she couldn't express that something about him not being there made her feel something was missing," Stoudemire.

"Did she know? I don't know," said Bass. "I kind of think she did."

Like a scene out of movie, this couple never forgot their vows. They were forever true to each other, until death did them part. "They died just the way they lived, together," said Bass.

The couple leaves behind their only daughter, one granddaughter, and two great granddaughters.

The Bradshaws will be remembered on Friday at noon in the chapel of Arch L Heady and Son on Westport Road. Their visitation will be held on Thursday 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.