Few love stories can say that they began at the age of eight. But for Jeanette and Alexander Toczko, they couldn’t have imagined life any other way.
What began as a childhood crush later bloomed into a deep, committed love – a love that would last throughout a war, five children, and seventy-five years of marriage.
“Their hearts beat as one from as long as I can remember,” said Aimee Toczko-Cushman, one of the couple’s five children, according to the Daily Mail.
After meeting his future wife at the age of eight, Alexander Toczko married Jeanette in 1940 while he was enrolled in the U.S. Navy as a telegraph operator. Alexander was a devoted husband to his wife Jeanette, and as Catholics, he fondly carried a snapshot of Jeanette’s First Holy Communion in his wallet.
The Toczko’s settled in San Diego, California in 1971 where Alexander and Jeanette worked together, establishing their own fashion photography and advertising firm. Alexander had a passion for golf and sketching, and the couple loved to travel with each other.
They raised their five children in the San Diego area, and over the years became the proud grandparents of ten grandchildren.
This past June, the couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Alexander, a WWII veteran, was 95 and Jeanette was 96.
The couple’s health had been declining over the months, especially after Alexander had taken a recent fall, breaking his hip.
“He was going fast,” their son, Richard Toczko, remembered.
Hospice care was brought to Jeanette and Alexander’s home, so that they could share their own bed and stay close to each other in their final moments.
Remarkably, the inseparable couple had a dying wish that they often told their children – they both wanted to pass away together, in each other’s arms and in their own bed.
Alexander was the first to go on June 17. Once Jeanette had been informed that her husband had died, she said, “See this is what you wanted. You died in my arms and I love you. I love you, wait for me, I’ll be there soon.”
Jeanette died only hours after her husband on June 18.
“Even the hospice nurse said it was the most incredible thing to see the two of them taking those last breaths together,” Aimee Toczko-Cushman said.
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“They both entered the pearly gates holding hands,” reflected their son, Richard Toczko.
A funeral mass was held for Alexander and Jeanette on June 29, a ceremony which commemorated both their lives and their 75th wedding anniversary. They were buried at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.