RIP, Gordon and Norma Stark Yeager: 72 Years of Devotion and Love

I have to stick around.
I can’t go until she does because I have to stay here for her and she would say the same thing.
– Gordon Yeager

On the day she graduated from high school, Norma Stark accepted Gordon Yeager’s marriage proposal.  Ten hours later, they were married on May 26, 1939, in State Center, Iowa, where they reared their family, were active in the community, and owned several businesses.

They always did everything together.  They weren’t apart.  They just weren’t.
– Donna Yeager Sheets

On October 12, they were involved in a traffic accident.  They were taken to the intensive care unit at the Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center in Marshalltown, Iowa.  Their son Dennis told KCCI:

They brought them in the same room in intensive care and put them together ~ and they were holding hands in ICU.  They were not really responsive.

His sister, Donna Yeager Sheets, told ABC:

They joined hands; his right hand, her left hand.

They just loved being together.
– Dennis Yeager

Mysteriously, Mr. Yeager’s heart beats appeared on the monitor after he stopped breathing at 3:38 PM.  How could this be?  Ms. Sheets shared:

The nurse said Dad was picking up Mom’s heartbeat through Mom’s hand.

Mrs. Yeager passed away at 4:48 PM.  They had been together for 72 years.  You can watch KCCI’s moving coverage of this love story at the Huffington Post and on WCPO.   The Times-Republican reported in the couple’s obituary:

They are survived by their children: Donna Sheets of State Center and Dennis Yeager of State Center, Norma’s sister Virginia Kell of San Diego, California, and Gordon’s brother Roger (Vivian) Yeager of Marshalltown, fourteen grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.


 October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I think we all need to hear sweet stories of couples who treated each other with dignity and respect for 72 years.

 May beautiful memories comfort their loved ones, and may they rest in peace.

 I wish Barbara Clapsaddle, the woman who was critically injured in the other car involved in the Yeager’s accident, a swift and total recovery.

2 responses to “RIP, Gordon and Norma Stark Yeager: 72 Years of Devotion and Love

  1. The old coot Yeager should have stopped driving years ago, and was fighting his driving suspension. End result – ruined another couple’s life (in addition to killing his own wife). An entirely preventable accident if it wasn’t for a stubborn old mule. Sorry, not sympathy here for “72 years of devotion and love” when you are missing half the story.

  2. Uncle J,

    Thank you for sharing the real story behind the headlines. I wondered when this story broke whether it was the family’s intent to spin it to generate sympathy and avoid liability. I hope your comment means that someone is seeking justice for an accident that should never have happened.

    I told my own mother that she could keep driving, but I wasn’t going to protect her assets if she got in an accident. It wasn’t a fun conversation, but that’s what families need to do when dealing with a stubborn old mule. If they opt instead to coddle, IMHO they can pay the price.

    Thank you very much for you comment,
    Anne Caroline

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