WOOSTER, Ohio — Wayne County has lost two treasured members of its community, and they truly remained together until the very end.
Husband and wife Bill (88 years old) and Nancy (85) Schafrath both died on Christmas Eve at the Brookdale Assisted Living facility following what are described as "lengthy" illnesses. Nancy apparently died less than five hours after Bill.
"It’s almost like they decided that if one went, the other would go, too," nephew John Moritz told The Daily Record. "Somehow they knew."
Born and raised in Wooster, Bill worked as a bricklayer for Bogner Construction and was also active in the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion. He also served in the United States Army during the Korean War.
Nancy was born in Barberton and married Bill in 1955 before eventually becoming the first vice president and branch manager of Wayne Savings Community Bank. She held that position for 35 years, and like Bill was active in their local Catholic Church.
Bill and Nancy had no children of their own, but are survived by many beloved nieces and nephews. A funeral mass for the couple was held on Thursday, with the presiding priest noting he had never seen such a situation before.
"Surely Jesus knew their faith," Fr. Richard Samide said, via the paper. "And so when he decided to call them home, how merciful that he call them together, so they only had to spend a couple hours apart until they were back together again."
While the funeral has already been completed, the family is still encouraging mourners to make donations to the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission Center in Kentucky as a way to honor Bill and Nancy.