In sad news, a record-breaking married couple with Down syndrome were finally parted by death after 25 beautiful years of marriage.
58-year-old Paul Scharoun-DeForge passed away last month after a long battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, leaving behind his widowed wife Kris, age 59.
Relatives believe their marriage was the longest between two people with the genetic condition.
The couple was from the town of Liverpool in New York state, where they were both born with Down Syndrome, but their families ignored doctors’ advice to have them placed in institutions.
It was love at first set when they met at a dance for disabled people in the 1980s.
After years of dating, Kris proposed to Paul in 1988.
‘He made me laugh,’ she told the Washington Post. ‘I looked into his eyes and saw my future, and that’s when I proposed to him. … He said yes.’
However, it took five years for them to win the right to wed from New York state officials.
They were forced to take tests of their sexual knowledge, needs, and feelings to prove there were able to consent to the marriage.
After they were married, the couple took each other’s names, with the bride’s unconventionally coming first.
‘The combination of the two names was just perfect,’ Susan said. ‘Our family was just so delighted to have Paul join us, and his family was delighted to have Kris join them.’
Last August the couple renewed their wedding vows after Kris was hospitalized with pneumonia.
The eulogy read by a relative at his funeral on April 6 in Liverpool 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.
‘They are role models for everybody who wants a good relationship,’ Kris’s elder sister Susan Scharoun told the Washington Post. ‘They were a team: They deferred to each other and looked out for each other.’