MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — He was a Twin Cities man known as a quick learner who could do everything from tile a floor to create machinery at General Mills.

John Weiland became Minnesota’s 221st person to die from COVID-19 when he passed away in April. In our Faces of COVID series, Liz Collin shares a more than half-century love story that starts with two teenagers.

“It was just a perfect match. A perfect match,” Carol Weiland said.

Back then Carol Weiland was 14 and John 15 when a friend decided they should meet while attending different schools in Minneapolis.

“Just a doll,” Carol Weiland explained. “Extremely handsome. The guys loved him as much as the girls did.”

John signed up to serve in the Navy as a teenager alongside his twin brother. He came back to work for General Mills for the next 33 years — making the machinery for the products the company would put on the test market.

“He could do everything,” Carol Weiland said. “I mean everything.”

From a long-time hockey referee to a fisherman. But, it’s John’s selflessness that still resonates.

“This crash woke us up,” Carol Weiland explained.

On full display 20 years ago when he happened to wake up when a snowmobiler fell through an icy Lake Minnetonka in the middle of the night.

John sprang into action and lassoed him up safety.

“He saved his life absolutely,” Carol Weiland said.

Carol and John enjoyed many retired years together. Until, dementia set in a few years ago.

After keeping her husband at home as long as she could, Carol decided he’d be safer at St. Therese in New Hope.

“They took good care of him until this virus came,” Carol Weiland said.

John was tested repeatedly for COVID-19 this spring. On the third round, he tested positive. He died six days later on April 24 at the age of 80.

“I still feel very married,” Carol Weiland explained. “This whole ’til death do us part isn’t working for me.”

Carol believes John sent her a sign when she spotted some pennies near her typical parking spot a few weeks ago.

Three were brand new from 2020.

“That fourth penny cleaned up to be 1964 when we got married,” Carol Weiland said.

Her pennies from heaven that she says proves she’ll be reunited someday with her perfect match.

Saint Therese in New Hope has been hard hit by COVID-19 with nearly 70 deaths on the site since March.

Liz Collin

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