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Married 76 years, couple dies within 12 hours of each other

9:13 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
William and Edna Kreger. / Family photo
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(Detroit Free Press) - In death, as in life, William and Edna Kreger were nearly inseparable.

William Kreger, 96, a former mayor of Wyandotte, died Friday. Edna Kreger, 97, died the next morning, just about 12 hours later.

"It's like my dad came to get her," said the couple's son, Conrad Kreger.

A shared funeral mass was scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Wyandotte.

Kreger said his parents met as teenagers at Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte. They were married for 76 years and had six children.

"My dad never went to bed without kissing her goodnight and telling her he loved her," Kreger said.

William Kreger served as the mayor of Wyandotte from 1950-1956, according to information on the city's website. He spent several years on the Wayne County Commission and the board of commissioners for Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Kreger said his father also owned Coca-Cola bottling facilities and was a former publisher of the News-Herald family of newspapers.

"He used to go to work at 5 o'clock in the morning and come home at 10 o'clock at night," Kreger said.

Kreger credited his mother with instilling faith and a sense of honor in him and his siblings.

William and Edna Kreger enjoyed traveling. Their trips included Russia, China, New Zealand and Australia.

On Thursday, William Kreger fell and hit his head at home, according to his son.

Kreger said he and his sister, Gretchen Wenk, were at their father's bedside at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and told him: "Dad, it's OK to go. Make a place for mother."

William Kreger died at about 6 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, Kreger said another sister, Suzanne Smith, was with their mother at her home. Edna Kreger had dementia and was under hospice care.

Kreger said Smith woke up early Saturday morning and strongly felt the presence of their father.

Later that morning, she took a shower. When she got out, Edna Kreger had died.

"We're not approaching this as an event to be mourned," Kreger said on the eve of his parents' funeral mass. "It's an event to be celebrated. As Christians, we believe life has not ended. It's just changed."

Along with their children, William and Edna Kreger are survived by 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

By Ann Zaniewski

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