LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A 52-year-old love story came to a peaceful end Monday, when a husband and wife passed away within hours of each other.

If love is truly the fruit of marriage, then Daniel and May Dickerson may have had enough to grow an orchard. 

"He always said that he could not live without her," said Karen Burt, the couple's only daughter. "He always told us, 'I can't stand to see her like this, but I can't live without her.'"

Times were different in 1964, when Burt says her parents met at church and married.

"I believe dad was 16 and mom was 21," Burt said. "And that's why they went south to marry, because dad was not of age."

Three kids, six grandkids and two great-grandchildren later, their love stood the test of time. 

"Everybody knew Daniel and May," nurse Teasha Reese said. 

The couple spent their twilight year at Westport Care Center where Reese works as the director of memory care. At 74, May was suffering from end-stage Alzheimer's disease. Daniel, at 69, was crippled by arthritis, diabetes and an amputated leg. Somehow he always mustered the strength to get to May, who'd been moved to a specialized wing.

"He rode his little wheelchair through the nursing home to her room every single day," Burt said.

The couple met for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even as May's memories faded, there were signs she knew Daniel in her heart. Reese said at times she'd break a subtle smile or even caress his cheek. 

"I would want and strive for that level of bonding," Reese said. "It's more than physical ... more than emotional. It's spiritual."

On Monday, Daniel made his last trek to May's room, where he passed away.

"We have no idea (why)," Burt said. "He just closed his eyes."

He died at her side, holding her hand. 

"We found out at 11:04 that he had passed away," Burt said. "And while we was at the nursing home trying to get some things ready for him, they was attempting to contact us to let us know that she was also passing."

The couple that married 52 year ago died just 10 hours apart. 

"It's amazing," sobbed granddaughter Lannah Waterworth. "That's love. That's how I know love is real."

The couple's loved ones have found peace, believing they are at peace -- and true love lasts forever.

"My papa did the best he could to take care of her his whole life, and I do believe it was God's plan," granddaughter Savannah Waterworth said.

"It was shocking for us to take in, but it's out of our hands," Burt said. "It all came together that they again were together." 

The Dickerson name is familiar to many in Kentucky. In 2008, the state named a handicapped protection law after their son Deron who had a seizure and drowned in a bathtub at a long-term care home.

Daniel and May Dickerson will be buried next to Deron Dickerson at Mt. Eden Cemetery.

The family will hold a joint visitation for the Dickersons on Saturday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. with a joint funeral to follow.

The services will take place at Maraman Billings Funeral Home at 605 South Preston Highway in Shepherdsville

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