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Family celebrates Norseland couple who died only a day apart

Norseland, Minn. (FOX 47) - Til death do us part is a line read in many wedding vows. However, for one Minnesota couple, that phrase took a deeper meaning.

"They would have considered themselves two ordinary people with what I would call extraordinary results," said the couple's youngest son, Brent Johnson.

Those two ordinary people were Bob and Corinne Johnson of Norseland, a small Nicollet County community near St. Peter. The two grew up near each other where Bob was actually friends with Corinne's brother, Harold.

"Evidently one day when those two were getting together, my dad noticed something else at the house besides his best friend that he took a liking to and that happened to be my mother, Corinne," said Brent.

Their first year of marriage was spent in an apartment above Norseland General Store before they moved to a nearby dairy farm where they raised their seven children.

"You didn't have a choice but to get along with the other six," said Brent. "We never had a lot but we had enough."

After 67 years together on the farm, health issues forced the Johnson's to reluctantly move to an assisted living facility.

"Dad said the only way he wanted to move to town was in a pine box," said son Bruce.

Bob, 88, suffered from cancer and Corinne, 87, had congestive heart failure. While Bob looked to be improving, that all changed when Corinne died.

"All of a sudden, things took a turn for the worse when mom died," said Bruce. "It's hard between the two of them that shared 68 years together that this could be a coincidence."

Bob passed away only 33 hours later.

"Sixty-eight years of marriage and passing away 33 hours apart may seem like a fairy tale ending," Brent said. "At the time it was happening, it didn't necessarily feel that way."

"It's always hard to lose your parents," Bruce said. "We miss them but I don't know that they would have done very well without each other."

Their funeral Tuesday, evidence of how they impacted their community.

"Both my mom's and dad's high school classmates came," said Bruce. "This tight-knit community is something that will be a legacy for them."

"You realize what a special ending it was for a life well lived," concluded Brent.

The couple are buried at Scandian Grove Cemetery, next to the church where they were members.

Alex Tejada

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