A touching photo has emerged online showing Jeanette and Alexander Toczko, a San Diego couple who had been married for 75 years, after they died together in bed holding each other’s hands (see video).
Jeanette, 96, and her husband Alexander, 95, both born in Stamford, Connecticut, died in each other’s arms less than 24 hours apart, after celebrating the 75th anniversary of their wedding.
The children of the couple told ABC 10 News that their parents had often said they wished to die “in their own bed, holding hands, in each other’s arms.”
They were able to fulfill their wish as they died holding hands, less than a day apart, at home in their own bed.
Jeanette and Alexander were both born in 1919 to Polish immigrants. The two struck a close platonic relationship when they were only 8-years-old. The relationship blossomed into love and marriage in 1940.
According to their son Richard Toczko, “They were boyfriend and girlfriend when they were 8 years old. They said they wanted to go in their own bed holding hands and in each other’s arms.”
Alexander died on June 17, as he lay beside his wife, who died the next day, less than 24 hours after her husband died.
The couple’s daughter, Aimee Toczko-Cushman, recalled her parent’s last moments.
“I told my mother he was gone. She hugged him and she said, ‘See this is what you wanted. You died in my arms and I love you. I love you, wait for me, I’ll be there soon.'”
According to Aimee, after their father died, she and her siblings left the room so that their mother could say goodbye privately to her childhood sweetheart.
Jeanette then passed away less than 24 hours later.
Aimee said, “My dad carried around a picture of my mother in her Holy Communion outfit in his wallet… Their hearts beat as one from as long as I can remember.”
Alexander was a World War II veteran. He joined the U.S. Navy soon after he married Jeanette in 1940. After the war, the couple moved to New York City, where Alexander worked with an advertising firm.
The couple moved to San Diego in 1971, and Alexander started an advertising and fashion photography business called Blue Sky. His wife worked with him as a stylist.
Jeanette and Alexander had five children –- Donna Tang, Lynne Edwards, Richard, Aimie, and Andra Toczko –- and before they died, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Alexander, a golf enthusiast who played regularly at the Balboa Park Golf Course, fell and broke a hip bone a few weeks before he died. Jeanette took ill soon after and the health of the couple deteriorated quickly.
Alexander arranged for a hospice to bring a bed to his home so he could be next to his wife.
According to the children, their mother Jeanette announced early in June that it was June 29, the 75th anniversary of the couple’s wedding. Because the children felt that a celebration would warm their mother’s heart they agreed that it was June 29 and arranged an anniversary party for the couple.
Aimee said their mother was thrilled.
“She kept asking us, ‘What is today, what is today?’ We said it was June. She said it’s June 29th, and June 29th is their 75th wedding anniversary.
“And we said happy anniversary, and my mother was thrilled to death because it was their anniversary and she knew that he was going and that they had made it to 75 years.”
Jeanette and Alexander Toczko were buried at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego on Monday.
Richard Toczko said, “They both entered the pearly gates holding hands.”