Richard and Nancy Trimmer died within a few hours of each other.
Richard and Nancy Trimmer died within a few hours of each other. (Submitted Photo)

Recovering from a recent fall and groggy from pain medicine, 81-year-old Richard Trimmer was far from alert when his daughter and son walked into his hospital room Sunday.

Missy Smith said she wasn't sure how her father would react, but she knew they had to tell him. Her brother started talking, telling their father about Saturday night, the night that Nancy Trimmer went to bed for the last time.

Suddenly lucid, Richard Trimmer finished his son's sentence.

"She never woke up," he said, according to Smith.

It was strange, she said, like "he sensed it before we even told him."

A few hours after learning of his wife's death, Trimmer - a man who'd spent years fighting kidney failure, heart problems and cancer - also died. The Spring Grove couple had been married more than 60 years.

Smith, the youngest of the couple's six children, said her parents met and fell in love as teenagers. Her dad often joked about his regular bicycle trips from his home in East Berlin to York, where Nancy lived.

"I'm not even sure exactly how they met," Smith, 43, said. "But he would ride his bicycle down to see Mom, I think, every night."

They married young, started a family and made a home in Hanover. All of their children - three girls and three boys - still live in the area, Smith said.

Getting by for years on just Richard Trimmer's truck-driver salary, the family was hardly wealthy, Smith said. But they did all they could for their children, she said.

"I couldn't ask for a better set of parents," she said.

The couple were the grandparents of 10 and great-grandparents of 12.

Richard Trimmer served in the National Guard during the Korean War. Nancy Trimmer, 77, had been a longtime employee of R. H. Sheppard in Hanover.

Richard Trimmer's health had been declining for years, and a terminal illness would have taken him eventually, Smith said. The family can only speculate that Nancy Trimmer died from a heart attack in her sleep.

"We knew sooner or later that his health was just going to give out on him," Smith said. "It's just like he knew that something happened to her and he wanted to be with her. We really think that his determination to stay alive was for my mom and for us kids."

A funeral service for Richard and Nancy Trimmer is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Bethel United Church of Christ, 2112 Yingling Drive in Spring Grove. A private service for family is planned for Wednesday evening.

Smith said the funeral arrangements have kept her distracted since the weekend.

"I think that's what's keeping me going right now," she said. "I know once tomorrow night gets here, it's gonna hit me like a brick wall."

- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or ejames@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter @ydcity.