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Love story legacy.

On January 23, George Limpert of St. Louis, Missouri, died at age 102 of complications from pneumonia. He and Mrs. Limpert, 100, celebrated their 82nd wedding anniversary on September 9 last year. Their life together has left a lasting legacy of love.

Seven of the Limperts' 10 sons and daughters are living. They lost an infant son in 1941 and another son to lung cancer in 1988. Joseph Limpert, 19, was killed in World War 11 during the battle for Iwo Jima. Three sons later served in the Korean War. In addition to the children, the couple's extended family includes 39 grandchildren, 117 great-grandchildren, 45 great-great-grandchildren and eight great-great-great-grandchildren.

George met his bride-to-be, Amelia Kwiatkowski, in 1919. He was a machinist in a St. Louis plant that made paint spray guns and lamp guards, and she was a teenager from Pennsylvania working on the plant's assembly line. It was, literally, love at first sight. George drilled a hole in the factory wall that separated them, so he could watch Amelia work, and even when both had passed the century mark he continued to insist that she was the "prettiest gal" he had ever seen.

In the aftermath of World War I, however, Amelia's parents opposed the marriage of their Polish daughter to her German suitor. The couple eventually eloped on September 9, 1921, and were wed by a justice of the peace. The next month, according to the Associated Press, "the devout Catholics had a formal marriage ceremony."

During the Great Depression, Mr. Limpert was unemployed most of the time and took odd jobs just to get by. Times were tough, but the couple managed to raise nine children in a one-bedroom home where the five girls and four boys slept in an attic of what daughter Mary Ruth Fink remembers as "wall-to-wall beds."

Occasionally, a Catholic welfare group would bring groceries to the family. The children recall that their dad would take only a portion of what was offered so there would be more for others. Years later, when the Limperts were more secure financially, they showed their gratitude by donating back to the charity.

In the early 1940s, Mr. Limpert secured a permanent job as a machinist at the Chain of Rocks Water Works in St. Louis. He rose to foreman and, after retiring in 1966 at age 65, spent much of his time taking other retirees to grocery stores, doctors' appointments, and other places they needed to go.

Asked on one occasion to account for their longevity and rock-solid marriage, Mr. Limpert suggested that "you have to cooperate with one another." Mrs. Limpert agreed, asserting that "you have to stick together." The Limperts' children also alluded to their mom's "patient and loving nature," their dad's "solid work ethic," and the couple's fervent faith in God.

Amelia Limpert, who is now nearly blind, was devastated by her companion's death. Mrs. Fink told AP that her mother said the loss "felt like it left a hole." Yet press coverage of his passing also provided an opportunity for many more Americans to learn about, and be uplifted by, the love story and legacy of a truly remarkable couple.
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Title Annotation:The Goodness Of America
Author:Lee, Robert W.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Apr 5, 2004
Words:528
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