‘A love story of great magnitude’
Ed and Loretta Pahura were married 72 years, and then died 2 days apart just before Valentine’s Day
ALBION – An Albion couple who inspired many with their devotion to each other died two days apart after 72 years of marriage.
On Thursday, a day after Valentine’s Day, Edward and Loretta Pahura were laid to rest after a double-casket funeral at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
“We have been privileged to witness a love story, one of great magnitude,” Father Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Albion, said at the funeral on Thursday.
The couple spent the first 70 years of their marriage in a blue house at 130 Liberty St. About 18 months ago they moved to The Villages of Orleans, a nursing home in Albion. They stayed together in Room 33.
They were friendly to the other residents, staff and visitors.
“They were like the official greeters,” said long-time friend Mary Ann Tillman.
The Pahuras raised three children in Albion after Mr. Pahura returned from World War II. He was a corporal and marksman with the U.S. Army and was part of the Normandy invasion on D-Day. He was haunted by the invasion, seeing so many friends drown and be shot, said his son, Steve Pahura.
His father wanted to help his fellow soldiers who didn’t know how to swim. But the soldiers were ordered to keep moving – or they would not survive.
“They were the first ones in,” Steve Pahura said about his father and his unit. “It was so hard for him to talk about. He lost a lot of his buddies.”
About a year after D-Day on June 6, 1944, Mr. Pahura married the former Loretta Long.
They met on a blind date at the Albion Hotel and had dinner and then went dancing.
They were both 22 at their wedding on July 15, 1945. They lived the “American Dream,” their son said. They were able to stay in a small town and raise their family, which includes sons Steven and Gary, and daughter Kathleen.
Mr. Pahura worked as a shop mechanic specialist at Lipton until it closed in 1980. He finished his career at Eastman Kodak. His wife worked 24 years at General Electric in Brockport, helping to produce the first electric can openers.
The couple was active in the local Catholic church. They enjoyed “little things,” their son. They liked to feed the birds, go fishing, spend time with their family and cheer on the New York Yankees. (At the luncheon after the funeral on Thursday, friends and family were given bags of birds seed in honor of Ed and Loretta.)
Steve Pahura said the family took vacations to Old Forge when he was a kid in the 1950s and ’60s. They went fishing and boating. A big highlight was going to the garbage dump to see bears. “That was a big thing,” Steve said.
He admired his parents for their life-long devotion.
“They had a good time together,” he said.
His father had been sicker than his mother in the past few years. But Steve believes his father held on for his wife. She recently had been battling cancer.
They both got the flu about two weeks ago. Mr. Pahura died on Feb. 7 and his wife joined him on Feb. 9. The family believes Ed wanted to go just before his wife, so she wouldn’t be scared of dying and to be there to welcome her to Heaven.
“He was comforting her and leading the way,” said the couple’s niece, Eileen Banker. “He was getting things ready for her.”
She said her aunt and uncle were very family-oriented. Her aunt “was always smiling” while her uncle was “very sweet.”
She recalled a family wedding on Aug. 29, 2015, when the Pahuras did the polka to the delight of the crowd. Ed and Loretta were at the reception for their granddaughter’s wedding at Ravenwood Golf Course in Victor. Steve Pahura asked the DJ to play a polka song. When the music came on, Mr. Pahura set down his cane and grabbed his wife’s hand, insisting on a dance.
Father Csizmar, pastor of the church, said the love story will continue in Heaven.
“We’re celebrating the wonderful Valentine’s life they lived for 72 years,” he said.