Married 70 years, die minutes apart

I’m so happy they went together,” a granddaughter said. “I think it would have been torture for either of them to be here alone.”

Les and Freda Austin of Jackson, Michigan, both in their 90s, took their last breaths on Saturday, December 7, while lying side by side in their beds in hospice care.

Les went first, and at that moment, his wife’s eyebrows sank, relatives at their bedsides said.

The couple’s heads then fell into the direction of one another in their dying moments, according to their son, Michael Austin. “If they had to go, this way was about as romantic as you could get.”

Michigan couple
Les and Freda Austin


“They did everything together,” said a daughter Sunday Maes. “They didn’t stop with death. I think they knew each other was passing and they are eternally together. It was beautiful.”

Les, who retired from the Michigan State Police after a 40-year career, and Freda enjoyed traveling and camping throughout Michigan. They focused their travels on lighthouse locations and the Upper Peninsula.

Freda, who worked as a manager at a dry cleaning company in Jackson, had collected decorative Christmas villages and was an “impeccable homemaker,” according to her obit.

The couple met in high school and went to the prom together on their first date. They were married in 1949 and celebrated their 70th anniversary last month.

“Seventy years together wasn’t always easy,” said Leah Smith, a granddaughter, “but at the end of those seventy years, they still cared so deeply for each other.”

Funeral services for the couple, who are survived by two children, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, will be held on Tuesday in Mason, Michigan

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