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Couple Married 70 Years Copes With Alzheimer’s

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – Seventy years of marriage: the headline sells itself. One Minneapolis couple who today celebrated this milestone now share their secret to defeating the odds.

For multiple hours every day, Sundays included, 92-year-old Leeland Widga sits with his sweetheart while listening to old tunes and holding hands.

“That’s the best I can do for her now, let her know I still love her,” Lee said.

His wife, Agnes Widga suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. But that’s no reason, Lee says, to stop sharing a life.

“We took a vow, in sickness and in health, be together — and we just maintained that,” Lee said.

They took that vow in 1942 after meeting at a school where they were both teachers.

“One of the football players blurted out to me and said, ‘Coach, which one is it?’,” Lee said.

He was asking if Lee would choose the strawberry blonde Anges or the brunette standing next to her.

“Agnes says, ‘I know which one,'” Lee said.

Now, with only an 11-month break during World War II, they’ve been side by side for 70 years.

“The secret is, if you get into an argument or anything like that, I tell her, ‘You’re right,'” Lee said.

Lee says despite Agnes’ dementia, he thinks she knows when he’s near. While you may think this only happens in the movies, one look at her reaction to his embrace may make you think twice.

“That’s one of the reasons I come out here every day is to still be with her as long as I can. I just love her that much,” Lee said.

Agnes stays at the Sol Bakken Residental Home in Bloomington. They’ve been open 12 years. This is Sol Bakken’s first 70th wedding anniversary celebration.

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