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Missouri Centenarian Amelia Limpert Dies

March 8, 2005

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ In the days after losing her husband of 82 years last year, centenarian Amelia Limpert mourned terribly, saying she wanted to rejoin the soul mate she met doing factory work after World War I.

Now, more than 13 months after George Limpert’s passing at age 102, his 101-year-old widow was laid to rest Monday. Kutis Funeral Home said Amelia Limpert died last week at a retirement center where the Limperts closed out their golden years, never shy about holding hands.

This love story dates to 1919, when George was a machinist at a St. Louis plant that made paint spray guns and lamp guards. Amelia was a teenager from Pennsylvania who worked the assembly line.

George had hoped she’d be his wife, although Amelia’s family had other ideas. Her immigrant parents did not want their Polish daughter to marry George, who was of German descent and not even ``from the Old Country.″

Their engagement was broken off three times before they finally jumped into his Model T and eloped on Sept. 9, 1921, spending $8 on a marriage certificate and a civil ceremony with a justice of the peace in nearby Clayton.

A month later, the devout Roman Catholics had a formal marriage ceremony. He was 20, she an 18-year-old woman with a third-grade education who had taught herself to read and write.

During the Great Depression, the Limperts struggled. George, out of work most of the time, took odd jobs making parts for old cars, painting houses and fixing faulty plumbing. The couple raised nine children in a one-bedroom home where the five girls and four boys slept in an attic.

The Limperts lost an infant son in 1941 and another son to lung cancer in 1988. During World War II, four of the Limperts’ sons went into the armed services. One never came home: Joseph Limpert died as a 19-year-old Marine on Iwo Jima _ a tragedy that a daughter, Mary Ruth Fink, called ``the only thing I saw that really got my mother down.″

Years later, three Limpert sons went to fight in Korea. George went on to work as a machinist at the Chain of Rocks Water Works, rose to foreman and retired in the mid-1960s at age 65 after 24 years on the job.

All the while, the Limperts never stopped doting on a brood that has blossomed over the years. There are seven surviving sons and daughters, along with 40 grandchildren, 117 great-grandchildren, 43 great-great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-great-grandchildren.

The couple remarked on their more than eight decades together in 2003. ``You have to cooperate with one another,″ George said, saying that ``everybody has faults.″

Said Amelia: ``You can’t disagree about everything; it would never work.″

After George’s death in January of last year, a daughter said Amelia mourned terribly.

``She’s not crying or carrying on. She’s just sad and feels like she’s dying,″ said Fink at the time. ``She says that when dad left it felt like it left a hole. She feels like she wants to go, too.″

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