A true love story: Despite dementia, wife always remembers her husband of 65 years

Photo: Megan Vaughan Photography
Photo: Megan Vaughan Photography(NBC15)
Published: Jul. 14, 2017 at 11:29 AM CDT
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RUSTBURG, Va. (WLUK/WSET) -- “All because two people fell in love."

It's a saying you see displayed in many homes, but there's one couple, living in our area, that has a love a story that could inspire a Nicolas Sparks' novel.

Megan Vaughan first photographed Harold, 90, and Ruby Coleman, 89, in 2012 for their 60th anniversary.

On her blog she wrote, "a while back, I got a phone call from a lovely woman named Cindy. She explained to me that her parents’ 60th wedding anniversary was coming up and she wanted some pictures done for them. I was beyond excited because I’d never done a shoot like this before. Plus, Ruby and Harold sounded like an awesome couple who love the Lord more than anything in the world."

Cindy said her parents were connected to the farm they lived on in a deep way.

Harold is a retired building contractor and Ruby was a stay at home mom with five kids and helped Harold in whatever he was doing, according to Cindy.

For the last 10 years, Ruby has started to forget things, like how to drive, wash dishes, and lately, she's even forgotten people; but, the one person she always remembers is Harold.

"They are an amazing couple who I love with all my heart. They served as hard working Christian parents not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for having such wonderful parents and role models growing up," Cindy wrote to Megan.

The Coleman's kids wanted their legacy remembered, and pictures for their mom to remember as her memory continues to fail.

So, they hired Megan to do that.

"To see their love and how they've endured these years together, it's just really something to strive for," Megan said.

Megan wrote that the minute Harold opened the door and invited her inside she was blasted with memories of her late grandparents.

Harold and Ruby told Megan their life story and showed her pictures of their family.

Now in 2017, Harold and Ruby are celebrating their 65th anniversary.

"Harold is the exact same as I remember him," Megan wrote on a new blog post from the end of June. "Sadly, Ruby’s dementia has worsened. She didn’t remember me or the last time we took pictures together."

But, despite her dementia, Megan wrote that Ruby still recognizes Harold, "you can see it in her eyes," she wrote.

The results of the two photo sessions were everything they ever wanted.

"Especially the ones with the Bibles, because that's how I often remember mama and daddy, before I would get ready to go to bed, mama would be in here on her knees and daddy was in the room on his knees," said their daughter, Sandy Carr.

Their favorite thing to do is read the Bible together.

Megan said Ruby very clearly read her favorite verse without skipping a beat, "Psalm 100: 1-5: 'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.'"

The Colemans credit their success to their faith.

"We've been going to church together, and doing everything together, and it's really been nice along the way," Harold said. "We've made it this far, and we hope to like the Bible says, till death do we part."

Harold and Ruby went on their first date in 1952.

"We were at that drive in and I thought she had the prettiest teeth I'd ever seen!" Harold said. "And I couldn't believe they was real!!"

Not even six months later, they were married and six decades later the two are still having fun.

"Wonderful, I just can't find anything wrong with him, yet and you see how long we've been married?" Ruby said. "You suppose I'll find anything? I don't know at this point!"

Harold said the key to a long and happy marriage is to be true to one another and then do things together, staying best friends.

"I would drive the tractor and she'd drive the combine, we would go to the barn and milk the cows together, whatever it was we did it together," Harold said.

Harold and Ruby have five children, seven grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Copyright 2017: WSET