- Couple Who Served In WWII
Couple who served in WWII together, married for seven decades, pass away on same day World War ll was on everyone’s minds in the early 1940s. Two young students, Isabell Whitney and Preble Staver met on a blind date in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they were studying. There was an instant spark, but it would take a back seat to the war. They both enlisted to join the Allies fight against the Nazis. Isabell worked as a Navy nurse stationed in Maryland, and Preble became a Marine and earned a Bronze Star for his bravery. Soon after the war ended in 1946, the two got married. They went on to have 5 beautiful children. Their love was true and proved to last over 70 years. During their marriage, Isabell stayed home and took care of the children while Preble worked.
The couple suffered a devastating loss when their son Peter was killed during a football game his senior year in high school. Their love endured and they supported each other through the tragedy. Their family remained intact and still flourished with love. After the children were all grown up, Isabell went back to nursing, while Preble continued to move through different professions. The couple’s daughter Laurie Staver Clinton, now 62, described her parents to People magazine. “They were great people. Mom really taught me that you can’t change another person but you can change your attitude towards them, ” Laurie said.
“Dad was a bit of a prickly pear! 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.”
Isabell was diagnosed with dementia in 2013 and the couple moved into a long term care facility in Norfolk, VA. Unfortunately, they were put into separate rooms, however, Isabell always knew who Preble was. “Sometimes, we’d have to tell her to focus and look but when she looked and knew it was dad, she’d get that little smile,” Laurie explained.
On Preble’s 96th birthday he made a request to the nurses to take a nap with his wife and they said ok. Laurie said: “There was not a single word spoken between the two of them. They held hands and just fell asleep. I told dad,
‘This is mom’s birthday present for you.’ He was just so happy that he got to take his nap with her.” A few days later, Laurie was told that it was time to say goodbye to her mother. Her father came in with her to say his goodbyes and they both cried in the sadness.
“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. I said, ‘Okay, but you know that means you’re going to have to let go of her hand?’ I was crying, and he was crying,” Laurie said. The grief stricken husband died a short 14 hours later. They were born 14 days apart and died 14 hours apart. May heaven bless this beautiful love and keep them together forever in peace.