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After an incredible 70 years of marriage, an elderly couple died 20 minutes apart from each other, side-by-side, with their family saying they'd done everything together - including death.
Les and Freda Austin had gone into the Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice Home in Jackson, Michigan, together on Friday 6 December. The next day, the two 90-year-olds both passed away; Les was the first to die, and Freda followed 20 minutes later.
While Freda wasn't conscious when her husband slipped away, family members said her eyebrows sank down.
Son Michael Austin told MLive: "If they had to go, this way was about as romantic as you could get."
After being introduced in high school by a mutual friend, Les and Freda were eventually married in 1949 and went on to enjoy seven decades together.
Freda worked as a manager at a dry-cleaning shop, and her husband had served in the United States before retiring as a sergeant with the Michigan State Police after 40 years of service.
According to their obiturary, Les had been 'instrumental' in the development of the Accident Reconstruction Program while with the State Police, and taught and consulted on the subject nationally.
With a shared love of camping, in their spare time the two loved travelling around Michigan and visiting lighthouses or finding garage sales. Freda also had a huge passion for cooking and baking - having owned more than 1,000 recipe books - while Les loved collecting John Wayne memorabilia.
Daughter Sandy Maes said: "They did everything together. They didn't stop with death.
"I think they knew each other was passing and they are eternally together. And I think it was beautiful."
Being together for 70 years, their marriage inevitably wasn't without its occasional issues - including the time when Les signed up for the Korean War without telling Freda.
Granddaughter Leah Smith said: "I know she was upset about that.
"Seventy years together sure isn't easy... but at the end of those 70 years together, they still cared so deeply for each other and loved each other so, so very much."
The family admitted it was difficult to lose both of them at the same time, but they felt it was probably for the best.
Smith added: "I'm so happy they went together.
"I think it would have been torture for either of them to be here alone."
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