The small town of Agra, Oklahoma has a population of around 300, and they just lost two of their most prized possessions.
“He told me, he said, I looked into those beautiful blue eyes, and I said, I’m going to marry her someday,” said LaReva Mandeville, daughter of Ortho and Grace McEntire.
The love story of Ortho and Grace McEntire started almost 71 years ago.
“They were on a honeymoon for 71 years. We have so many pictures of them looking at each other and you could just see the love that they had for each other,” said Tawanna Chapman, daughter of the couple.
Daughters Evon, Tawanna, LaReva, and Brenda, grew up seeing this love throughout their lives, even as they both grew old and began having health challenges.
“Daddy was in the nursing home about three weeks, I guess, maybe? And mamma just started declining and so we had her placed in Chandler,” said Brenda Hart, daughter of the couple.
They both battled complications due to Alzheimer’s and with Ortho in the ICU in Edmond and Grace in hospice in Chandler, the daughters were informed, things didn’t look good for the couple.
“On Sunday, my dad took a really bad turn and got really, really bad,” said Hart.
“Mom had constantly been asking for dad, for days and days and days, and I said mom he can’t make it, he’s going to got heaver before you, but he’ll be waiting for you,” said Mandeville.
But as their mom turned for the worse the daughters were given good news about their dad.
“She looked at me with a big smile and she says, oh we’re just waiting for the answer for who’s going to transport,” said Chapman.
Once transported, the beds were set up so the couple could see each other.
“Daddy would wiggle his toes and then mamma would wiggle her toes, and then daddy would wiggle his toes, and said they’re communicating,” said Hart.
Ortho passed around 10 p.m. that evening with his wife Grace passing 16 hours later to their song playing on LaReva’s phone.
She tried desperately to turn the music off, not recognizing what song was playing.
“And finally, Brenda was like let it play, that’s their song. I said that was daddy telling us girls, I got her,” said Mandeville.
Funeral services for the couple were on May 3, the couple’s 71st wedding anniversary.
“This is just amazing, this is an amazing love story, and it is,” said Chapman.
While the sisters comfort each other through the grieving process, they are comforted to know their parents couldn’t and wouldn’t live a day without each other