Husband, wife of 77 years buried in same casket after dying hours apart: 'They were good people'

(INSIDE EDITION) - They left life the way they had lived most of it: Together.

Raymond and Velva Breuer, who had been married for 77 years, died within hours of each other and have been laid to rest in the same casket.

Raymond, 97, went first, with his wife holding his hand. Velva, 96, followed him some 30 hours later at the Boone Landing Retirement Community in Columbia, Mo.

Son-in-law Steve Hardin delivered the couple's eulogy. He had known them for 44 years, he told Monday.

"They were good people. They had a strong faith in God," he said. "They were just down-to-earth, blue-collar people."

Raymond was a factory worker who rose every day at 4 a.m. and Velva got up with him to make sure he "had a hot breakfast," Hardin said. After he retired at age 59, he became a preacher.

When the family told her that Raymond had passed, "she cried," Hardin said. "She said, 'I can't live without him,' and I believe she meant it," he said. "She just basically gave up."

Raymond had joked with the medical staff in the days before he died, saying he and his beloved might as well be placed in one coffin.

"Dad told one of the nurses before he passed, that if they went close together, that they should just be buried together in the same casket, son Bobby Breuer told the Columbia Daily Tribune.

"We asked the funeral director," he said. "Mother was a very small woman and dad wasn't that big."

They were buried on Friday.

Raymond and Velva attended the same one-room schoolhouse. In the fourth grade, he made a lasting impression when he jabbed her with a hot poker from the school fireplace and left a scar.

"She married me to get even with me," he told a reporter earlier this year at a party for the couple's 77th anniversary.

"I wouldn't trade him for anybody," his wife said at the celebration. "He's so good."

The husband and wife were mentally sharp up until their deaths and were avid readers all of their lives, according to their children.

They had four sons and two daughters, 18 grandkids and family members were unable to come up with an accurate count for the many great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Raymond was raised on a dairy farm and worked for Ford until he retired in 1978. Velva was a homemaker.

After they moved into a retirement home in their later years, he held prayer meetings called "Bible Study with Ray."

"They were very blessed their entire lives. They had health issues but they overcame us," Bobby Breuer said. "They were blessed and we were blessed because they were so fortunate."