The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 8, 2012

Westmont couple inseparable, even in death

JOHNSTOWN — People who knew James and Marjorie Landis of Westmont said the two were nearly always together.

The former Marjorie Engelbach met the dashing Air Force pilot at a dance in Johnstown. They were out with other people that night, but eventually the two began dating and were married in 1946.

In September, they celebrated their 65th anniversary.

On Monday, Marjorie Landis, 87, died at Laurelwood Care Center following a long illness. Just 88 minutes later, James Landis, 89, suffered a heart attack and followed his wife in death.

He had been at her side when she died. They were both surrounded by their loving family.

“The last thing he said to her was, ‘It’s OK. I love you. We had many good years together. I will see you real soon,’ ” granddaughter Erin (Landis) Miller of Johnstown recalled.

“I just think he died of a broken heart,” she said. “I don’t think they could have lived apart from each other.”

The Rev. Douglas Stevens, pastor of Westmont Presbyterian Church, will officiate the couple’s funeral at 11 a.m. today at the church. The minister said he had no problem coming up with a theme for his homily.

“I’m going to talk about the bonds of love because that really is what held them together and it was so obvious for all to see,” Stevens said.

Miller said her grandparents were nearly inseparable. That fact became apparent Wednesday as she searched for photographs for a display board for the funeral home.

“It is hard to find photos of them not together,” she said.

The couple started their married life in Pittsburgh, where James Landis attended Pitt following his military service. He earned a degree in engineering and eventually went to work for Bethlehem Steel.

James Landis retired after a 40-year career during which he served as a supervisor of electrical engineering.

Marjorie Landis kept busy with the couple’s two children – son Gary and daughter Gail – and with keeping a nice home for her family.

The couple did many things together.

Both were active in the church, where he served as a deacon and she as a Sunday school teacher.

They loved bird watching.

They enjoyed playing bridge and pinochle and board games with the family.

Every Christmas, they made cookies to pass out to friends and family.

“She would mix and he would roll them out,” their granddaughter recalled.

The couple loved to travel and went on many cruises – visiting Alaska and Hawaii and several other locations.

“They had so much fun together,” Miller said.

“Everybody always commented, ‘I wish I could be like your grandparents.’ ”

Their pastor agreed.

“They really were inseparable,” Stevens said. “One would always talk about the other.

“That’s the kind of marriage all of us would want to have.”

James and Marjorie Landis were preceded in death by an infant daughter.

In addition to their children and granddaughter, the couple is survived by son-in-law, Doug Myers of Reading; daughter-in-law, the former Melissa Pfendler of Johnstown; grandson-in-law, Joseph Miller of Johnstown; granddaughter, Kelsey Landis; and great-granddaughter, Ryann Miller.

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