Long-married couple dies same day

Published 3:15 pm Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Michiana couple married for more than 60 years passed away within hours of each other on Monday.

Roy E. Gulbranson, 84, a Niles High School graduate, died at 8:20 a.m. at a South Bend nursing home. His wife, Elizabeth, 86, died at 6:20 p.m. at the same nursing home.

Roy and Elizabeth Gulbranson died within 10 hours of each other this week at a South Bend nursing home. The couple had been married more than 60 years. Submitted photo

Relatives say the Gulbransons were inseparable in life. They believe it is no coincidence they both passed away within a span of 10 hours.

“I spoke to the nurses that were with Grandma on Monday. They said she wasn’t told of Grandpa’s passing, so she wasn’t even aware,” said granddaughter Kari Gulbranson. “I believe he came back for her so they could go together.”

The pair grew up within miles of each other — Roy in Niles and Elizabeth in South Bend, Ind. But they didn’t meet until later at Bendix Aerospace in South Bend where both worked.

They were married on April 28, 1951, and celebrated the 6oth anniversary of that wedding last year.

“Their relationship was a model for what a married relationship should be,” said grandson Michael Gulbranson. “They were always united in their message if one of us grandkids were ever in trouble.

“They also always supported each other even if they knew the other one wasn’t right.”

Roy and Elizabeth will have a shared funeral service at 1 p.m. Friday at Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles. They will be buried at Highland Cemetery in South Bend.

“If there is a silver lining to losing such great people, it is knowing that they’ve gone together,” Michael said. “I tend to be semi-scientific about things, but I really think there is something to it when you are together that long and love each other that much. It is almost like their time clocks were on the same minute so to speak.”

Roy graduated from Niles Central High School in 1945 and worked at Bendix Aerospace for more than 37 years.

Elizabeth graduated from Washington High School in 1943 and attended South Bend College of Commerce, where she was a member of the Tau Gamma Sorority.