The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 12, 2012

After 65 years of marriage, husband, wife die hours apart

— LaVerne and Robert Werner were both born in Meyersdale, she in 1920 and he in 1921, and, except for their many travels, spent their lives in the borough.

On Tuesday, after 65 years of marriage, the couple died just 12 hours apart at Siemon’s Lakeview Manor Estates.

Their son, Barry Werner, also of Meyersdale, said his father had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

His mother cared for him until four months ago when they were moved to the personal-care home where they shared a room.

“They did everything together,” Barry Werner said. “They didn’t always agree with each other, but if one went, the other was going to follow soon.”

He said his mother died first, probably the result of small mini-strokes.

“She was tired. She was ready to give up.”

Despite his diminished awareness, Barry Werner said he believes his father knew that his wife was gone. “Something was wrong,” he said. “I could tell by his actions that something was bothering him.

“She went in peace and he did the same thing. I think he heard her calling – that she told him that it was OK.”

Despite his grief at losing both his parents at the same time, Werner said he believes they would have wanted it to end this way. His mother, whose life as a homemaker centered around her husband, would not have wanted to leave him behind.

“He came first,” their son said. “She always made sure he had enough to eat. You had to pretty much force her to eat. Her first concern was always for him.”

Robert Werner was a veteran of World War II. “He was at Iwo Jima and saw when the men put the flag up, and he also saw them get shot,” his son said. “He didn’t talk much about the war. But he did tell about one night being in a foxhole and the Japanese killed his buddy on his left and on his right. The next morning he realized they were killed.”

Werner was eventually wounded. “He was crawling across a road and a Japanese machine gun hit him in the legs,” his son said. “He said, ‘I didn’t crawl fast enough.’ ”

The Werners married after Robert’s return from the fighting.

He built the home they lived in for many years and held down several jobs, including radio, television and organ repairs as well as jobs as an electrician. He also worked at a Ford dealership and sold travel trailers.

The couple developed a love of travel.

“They’ve seen all the states but Alaska,” Werner said. “They were in Hawaii twice and to Mexico, and we’ve been to England.”

The Werners enjoyed crafts and sold items at the farmer’s market in Springs.

They were members of Mount Carmel Lutheran Church at White Oak.

The couple was preceded in death by their daughter, Bonnie Wisler.

In addition to their son and his wife, Edie, they are survived by son-in-law George Wisler Jr., also of Meyersdale; five grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.

The Price Funeral Home in Meyersdale is in charge of arrangements.

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