SKOKIE, Ill. -- A remarkable love story was celebrated Tuesday night a few days after a Skokie couple who had been married for nearly 70 years died just minutes apart.
Issac and Teresa Vatkin were holding hands when they passed away this weekend.
Their daughter Clara, who immigrated to the United States with her parents in the 1960s from Argentina shared the story of their enduring 69 year marriage.
“They were wonderful people. They were in love,” Clara says. “Never let a fight divide you, separate you. Never go to bed angry. Make sure you kiss each other when you go to bed. Those are the things that my mother taught me.”
Yolanda Vatkin was 13 when her sister Teresa met the dashing young man from Buenos Aires during a party. A romance blossomed over a number of years even though they lived in different cities. Issac wrote three letters a week to Teresa.
“And she fell in love,” Yolanda says. “And two years later they were engaged.”
They built their family in South America and moved to the United States. Isaac found success as a kosher meat distributor and Teresa as a mother and manicurist.
As their health declined in recent years, their love certainly did not.
This weekend, both were brought to the hospital for different reasons. The doctors and nurses said time, for both husband and wife, was coming to an end.
Both were brought to each other's side and his hand was placed on hers.
That same day, Teresa opened her eyes.
“She looked at us. She looked at me and my brothers and she was gone,” Clara says.
Teresa’s bed was moved away from Issac’s and their hands separated.
Clara says when their hands separated, “My fathers chest went flat. I would think no more than 20 minutes. They were both gone.”
Just minutes apart, they continued their journey together.
And their love now continues in their family.