A couple with Down Syndrome have been parted by death as the husband passed away after 25 years of a happy marriage.
After a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, 56-year-old Paul Scharoun-DeForge died, leaving his 59-year-old wife, Kris, widowed.
It is believed their marriage was the longest between two people with the same condition.
The two from Liverpool in New York state were both born with Down syndrome. However, their families refused to take the doctors’ advice to put them in institutions.
They met at a dance for disabled people in 1980s and it was love at fight sight, according to the couple. After years of getting to know each other, it was Kris who popped the question to Paul in 1988.
Speaking about their relationship, Kris told the Washington Post: “He made me laugh. I looked into his eyes and saw my future, and that’s when I proposed to him. … He said yes.”
It took them five years to win the rights to get married from New York state officials. They were also forced to take tests of their knowledge when it comes to sex, needs, and feelings to prove they were able to consent to marriage.
After tying the knot, they took each other’s names with the bride’s coming first.
Susan Scharoun, Kris’s elder sister, said: “The combination of the two names was just perfect. Our family was just so delighted to have Paul join us, and his family was delighted to have Kris join them.”
A relative read the eulogy at his funeral and expressed how lucky Paul believed he was. “To an outsider, it may not seem that way — but to those of us who knew and loved him, it’s absolutely true,” it said.
Susan told the Washington Post: “They are role models for everybody who wants a good relationship. They were a team: They deferred to each other and looked out for each other.”
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