By Associated Press - Sunday, March 8, 2015

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - A pair of Iowa sisters in their 80s who were always close in life died on the same day last month.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports ( ) Roseanna Van Syoc, 84, and Erna Galbraith, 87, died within hours of each other on Feb. 28.

The sisters were born in Waterloo in 1927 and 1930, and they grew up in a family of nine children. Roseanna and Erna played together as children and celebrated their lives’ milestones together as adults.

All the Essman siblings were close, but the two sisters shared a special bond. After their husbands died, Erna and Roseanna moved into the same retirement community where they spent the past five years.

“Where one was, the other wasn’t far behind,” said Erna’s youngest son, Dave Galbraith, 63, of Elk Run Heights.

Both sisters married and had two sons. They enjoyed regular family camping trips together as their kids grew up, and then in retirement Erna and Roseanna and their husbands spent winters together in Arizona.

Both women made friends at the retirement community but they remained close.

“They ate every meal together, went everywhere together,” said Lynda Van Syoc, wife of Roseanna’s son, Craig, of Clear Lake.

Roseanna’s health was declining after a January surgery, so family members brought Erna to the hospital to say goodbye.

“We were praying over her,” Van Syoc said. “Erna said, ‘Rose, you get up and walk through those Pearly Gates, and I won’t be far behind you.’”

Erna passed away in her sleep on Feb. 28, and then a few hours later Roseanna died at the hospital.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,

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