Couple married 70 years die hours apart: ‘Grandma wasn’t going to let him go by himself’

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UTAH COUNTY, Utah (KTVX) – A prominent Utah couple died last week just hours apart from one another in what their family calls a “loyal” love story.

Robert and Cumorah Holdway were Utah County staples. Robert was a lifelong farmer and resident from Vineyard, home to just 139 people as of the 2010 census.

The couple became high school sweethearts at Orem’s old Lincoln High School.

Robert and Cumorah Holdway (Photo provided to KTVX)

Upon the Holdways’ graduation from Lincoln High, they wanted to get married. Cumorah was a few months older than Robert and, in keeping with the spirit of wanting to do everything together, they waited until Robert’s birthday, so they would both be 20 years old when they got married.

Their sweet love story came full-circle last week when Robert turned 91 years old on Aug. 8 and passed away on Aug. 9, with his wife following him in death just 13 hours later on Aug. 10. Both were 91 years old, and the couple was just a few days shy of completing 71 years of marriage.

“They just did things together,” said the couple’s daughter, Sherrie-Kaye Miller. “My dad wanted to be with my mom so bad that he would go to things that he didn’t really want to go to just so he could be with my mom … now that is a love story.”

“They just couldn’t be away from each other,” said granddaughter Meechelle Talbot. “They did everything together. Served together, fought for what they thought was right together. Grandma drove the tractor on the farm, hauling hay, they are just a great example of how a marriage should be as well. It is a sweet legacy.”

The couple’s passing did not go unnoticed. The funeral, which was on Aug. 15, was held at Orem’s Scera Shell Outdoor Theater, a venue where they both volunteered at for years and were influential in building.

The Holdaways held BYU athletic season tickets for 71 years, so it was only appropriate that Cosmo the Cougar and his Cosmobile made an appearance in their funeral procession. Cosmo was even one of the Holdaway’s pallbearers.

Governor Gary Herbert sent a letter to be read at the Holdway’s joint funeral honoring them for their involvement in local politics over the years.

Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer ordered all the flags in Vineyard to be lowered in honor of the prominent couple.

The Holdaways owned around 190 acres of land in Vineyard where they operated a dairy farm for years. Part of their farm is now what makes up Sleepy Ridge Golf Course and the area near Lake View Drive in Vineyard. They were known throughout the farming industry and were heavily involved in Utah’s Farm Bureau. Robert was also on the Utah County Planning Commission. The Holdaways rarely missed a Vineyard City Council meeting and were even influential in the naming of Vineyard. Talbot said that there was rarely a parade or patriotic event that they missed in their area.

When Robert’s health took a noticeable decline in the days right before his passing, it was clear that his wife wouldn’t be too far behind him.

“We are so grateful that neither of them had to be at the funeral for the other because that would have just been so heartbreaking,” said Talbot. “Once grandpa decided he was going to go, grandma wasn’t going to let him go by himself.”

The couple shared five children together and have 32 grandchildren and 75 great-grandchildren.

In reminiscing on her parent’s legacy, Miller added, “I hope their life is remembered as, that they loved deeply, they cared deeply, their actions showed, it wasn’t just words. Their actions showed how much they loved.”

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