Eleanor and Frank Turner would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, except the elderly couple died Friday within just hours of each other.

The North Carolina couple entered this world just 26 days apart in July 1926, according to The Charlotte Observer. They were married at age 22 and their family told the newspaper it seems only fitting that they would leave the world so close together at age 87.

eleanor and frank turner

Eleanor and Frank Turner’s obituaries appeared side-by-side in the local newspaper. (Image source: WTVM-TV)

Eleanor died in Hospice House in Monroe just after 4:30 a.m. Friday. While the family debated telling Frank, who was at another hospice care center, about his wife, they later found they never had the chance.

Frank died at 1:30 p.m.

“We’re still in shock. It doesn’t seem real to us,” their niece Carolyn Warren told the Observer. “But isn’t it ironic that they both passed, one and then the other?”

eleanor and frank turner

The couple would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Dec. 24. (Image source: WTVM-TV)

“She went first, she got to heaven and she hollered for Frank and he decided to come too. He wasn’t going without her,” the couple’s daughter, Linda Purser, told WTVM-TV.

Watch WTVM’s report about the couple:

The Observer reported that the couple met while Eleanor was a secretary at a car dealership. Frank, recently returned from his post in the Navy, prepared to take up a job with the Associated Press.

Their courtship started with a smooth line from Frank as he replied to a car salesman asking if he wanted to go for a test drive.

“Yes, but only if I can take your secretary with me,” he said, according to the Observer.

The rest was history.

“They loved each other, and you could always tell they were proud to be out together,” Purser told the Observer. “They were just meant for each other.”

As they got older, first Eleanor and then Frank got dementia. They both later suffered strokes within a couple weeks of each other.

While one was leaving a local hospital after a stroke, the other was entering and they were able to hold hands one last time.

eleanor and frank turner

Eleanor and Frank didn’t speak to each other on their last encounter, but they held hands. (Image source: WTVM-TV)

“They thought alike; they both wanted the same things out of life,” Purser told the newspaper. “They were the same. And they were lost without each other.”