MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of Minnesota’s most famous love stories has come to a painful end.

Dave Weinlick‘s friends ran a campaign to choose a wife, and then made it official at Mall of America.

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That was nearly 20 years ago to the day that Dave married a perfect stranger, Bethy.

He passed away this week at age 48 from colon cancer.

Dave and Bethy on their wedding day (credit: CBS)

There are few marriages as documented as theirs: A 28-year-old bachelor chooses a wedding date, and his friends choose his bride.

On the day of their wedding, Bethy said she knew enough to know it was a good thing.

“We have the rest of our lives to learn about each other,” Bethy said.

Eight years later, WCCO revisited the couple, still standing firm.

“Marriage really ought to be more about committing to being together than it is about sort of how you feel in a given moment,” Dave said.

Together they built a family with four children, standing by their vows, and renewing them last year after Dave was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Bethy was with her husband as he took his last breath.

“You can feel overwhelming sorrow and immense peace and love at the same time,” Bethy said.

Dave’s spirit will also stay close to his kids, who marvel at their parents love story.

“I always love hearing more about it because I just think it’s so crazy, and I’m like, ‘A bit of that craziness is in me, too [laughs]!’” said their eldest child, 16-year-old Emily.

Dave and Bethy renew their vows (credit: CBS)

It is something to which Steve Flether, Dave’s best friend who helped orchestrate the union, can attest.

“The idea that through this process you would have found Bethy, would have found someone who could have that depth of connection with, it’s just, you know, unbelievable,” Steve said.

And even though a life has ended, it is a love that will never die.

“How lucky am I that I was chosen to be with this person? I mean, that was incredible,” Bethy said. “It started my life on this whole different trajectory, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, even with this ending.”

Friends and family will honor Dave in a service on Saturday, June 16 at O’Halloran Murphy Funeral Home in Woodbury. Dave, a loyal Democrat, picked that day because it was after the DFL convention.

Visitation will be at 1 p.m., the service will start at 2 p.m. and the reception is at 3 p.m.

Click here to visit the GoFundMe page set up to help support Dave’s family.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield