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Wed 67 years, couple dies just days apart

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Betty and Myron Young
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It didn't take long for Myron and Betty Ann Young to be reunited.

The couple died 48 hours apart last week, and the funeral for both was today at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin. Myron died at 2:10 p.m. on Jan. 11. Betty Ann, his wife of 67 years, died at 2:20 p.m. on Jan. 13. The couple spent their entire marriage in Mower County.

The couple's daughter Wanda Gwinn said her parents loved the Austin area.

"My dad lived on a farm out by Oakland for 89 years. My mom was a probation officer for girls. Their roots (in Mower County) went very deep," Gwinn said.

Gwinn lives in Longmont, Colo., but was in Austin when her parents died. She came home after hearing that both Myron and Betty Ann had contracted influenza the week before Christmas. She said that before the couple became sick with the flu, they were in fairly good health considering their age.

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"My mom had ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease), so she was getting pretty weak and we were worried about her," Gwinn said. "My dad had some congestive heart problems, but nothing really awful yet. "

Gwinn said her mother was a tough woman. When told two years ago that she had ALS, doctors warned that she might have only three to five years left to live.

"Mom said, 'I don't know of any 85-year-old who would be disappointed to hear she has only three to five years left to live,'" Gwinn said.

Losing two parents within 48 hours can be tough on a family. Chris Gray, who has been working at Griffin-Gray funeral home for 30 years, said funerals for multiple people are rare, but they do happen.

"We usually try to do both people at the same time," he said. "It's so much easier on the family. It can be tough to have a funeral and then have to go through it again."

Long career as a probation officer

Betty Ann Young was born Betty Ann Harriet Madson on Feb. 2, 1927, at her rural Fillmore County home. Her family eventually moved to Austin, where she graduated from Austin High School. She attended teacher's training and became a teacher in 1946.

She taught school in rural Mower County, and then in the rural Oakland school district. On June 15, 1947, she married Myron Young at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, where she remained a lifelong member. Soon after their marriage, Betty Ann Young was asked if she would become involved in a new probation department in Mower County. She worked there for three decades.

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The family farm

Myron was born on Feb. 17, 1924, and spent the vast majority of his life working on the family farm. Before moving The Cedars in 2012 and selling the property to his daughter and son-in-law, Mary Beth and Roger Norris, he kept the farm going.

In his free time he loved woodworking, having coffee with friends and, of course, dancing with his wife.

Final days

When Myron got the flu on Dec. 22, the couple was separated and they didn't see each other until Jan. 7. By Jan. 5, both were staying at St. Mark's Lutheran Home in Austin, but Myron was in a coma when he arrived. When he woke from his coma, his family rushed to get them together.

"We hurried up and got Mom and wheeled her over. And they got to tell one another that they loved each other," Gwinn said. "Speech was difficult for my mom at the time, but she said 'I love you' and reached out her hand and they held hands a little bit. We would wheel her over each day."

They saw each other for a few days, but Myron slipped back into a coma and died on Jan. 11. After Myron's death, Gwinn said her mother, "started to slide," and was no longer able to get out of bed. She died the following Tuesday.

"They were very well-liked people," Gwinn said. "Even at Mom's worst, she was pretty witty. They enjoyed having fun. They would go dance, and it was a sight to see."

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