Illinois Couple Married for 71 Years Die Minutes Apart

Made for each other.

No phrase better describes longtime Medinah residents Bob and Ruth Kretschmer, who died within minutes of each other Friday, five days after they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.

Ruth Kretschmer, a onetime Republican politician who chaired the DuPage County Board’s zoning committee and served 20 years on the Illinois Commerce Commission, had been in hospice for two years, said the couple’s daughter Roberta “Bobbi” Boston. Bob Kretschmer, a World War II veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, she said.

“They both wanted to die in this house and if my father went first, that wasn’t going to happen for my mother,” said Boston, her voice breaking. “He hung in there for her. After she passed away, he asked why everyone was crying, then he passed away.

“They worked it out between them, through the grace of God,” Boston said.

“The arc of their two lives, terminating as they did within 15 minutes, meant they were meant for each other in this life and the next,” said Bobbi’s husband Roy Boston, who was introduced to his wife by his late mother-in-law.

Few couples embody the “opposites attract” maxim better than the Kretschmers.

According to her daughter, Ruth Kretschmer was serious, proper, highly intellectual, an accomplished speaker and an avid reader. The Elmhurst native earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University while in her fifties, attended classes at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and worked until age 81. An expert in regulatory matters, she was known as a serious, hardworking, fair-minded politician, Bobbi Boston said.

Addison Township Republican Chairman Pat Durante said Saturday it was quite a shock to hear about the death of Kretschmer and her husband. Ruth Kretschmer was dependable and willing to help the Republican Party whenever called on, said Durante who met her in 1965.

“She was always pleasant, kind and considerate,” he said.

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Source: Daily Herald