Over the weekend, Grace Tangarone, 91, and her husband, Lebro Tangarone, 90, left the world within hours of each another.
The Schenectady couple had been married for 63 years, and on Friday, Dec. 27, Grace died at their home surrounded by family. Early Sunday morning, Lebro died at Ellis Hospital.
“I just think he wanted to be with her and that was it,” said Donna West, the Tangarones’ daughter. “When she left he had nothing to live for.”
On Friday, Grace was in and out of consciousness when Lebro called her from his bed at Ellis Hospital. While West cannot be sure if her mother was aware at the time, the phone was on speaker for Grace to hear her husband’s voice. Lebro told his wife what he told her often, “I love you and I miss you.”
Grace died about an hour later.
The couple had spent 10 days in the hospital together in December. Grace had a heart attack on Nov. 22 and on Dec. 6 Lebro joined her because he was having some medical problems after having broken his leg in October. They spent that time together in the same room before Grace was sent home.
“When he had to leave her that was the hardest thing,” West said. “I think that was what bothered him more than anything.”
According to West, the prognosis was not good for her mother and she was slipping away quickly.
“It was very difficult,” she said. “She had really taken a turn for the worst.”
Although her father remained in the hospital, his prognosis was more optimistic. When Grace died on Friday, West spoke with her father about it. And while he was upset, he told his daughter he was happy because Grace was no longer suffering.
On Saturday, when West went to visit her father, he was asleep and she decided not to wake him. At 1 a.m. Sunday morning she received a call from the hospital. Her father had died.
“It was sudden,” she said. “Up until then, they were managing all his symptoms. There really wasn’t a reason why.”
Grace and Lebro Tangarone grew up in the Capital Region. West describes her mother as compassionate and her father as passionate. Her mother loved little kids, babies and caring for others. A licensed practical nurse, she worked for a pediatrician for a while and at Ellis Hospital. Her father was always willing to fix things for people and was passionate about anything he did. West joked that he was a jack of all trades but a master of none.
The couple met at General Electric when Lebro worked there for about a year before he joined the Army and served in World War II. According to the obituary provided by the family, Lebro served at the “Battle of the Bulge” in Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe and African-Middle Eastern Theatres.
The couple were married in June 1950.
Grace and Lebro Tangarone were active members in local Veterans of Foreign Wars groups.
“They did a lot together with the veterans,” West said. “Most of their free time they spent with the veterans.”
Both also were very involved with the American Legion and the Military Order of the Cooties, among other veteran organizations.
They had two children, Donna West of Glenville and Anthony Tangarone of Rotterdam. They also have five grandchildren.
Over the years people would often ask the couple how they remained together for so long. West said her father usually had a similar answer: “Never go to bed mad at each other.”
“They had their ups and downs, just like every other couple, but that is the main part he always said,” West said.
“Every night he would go to bed and give her a kiss,” she said. “And say I love you.”
Calling hours are on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Glenville Funeral Home, 9 Glenridge Road, Glenville, and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held for the couple on Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Route 50, Glenville.