Rites held for Tulsans Geraldine and Robert Muehlberg
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 9:32 AM
Lying in her bed with only days left in what would be her final battle, Geraldine Muehlberg began talking about the airplane.
It was showing up in all of her dreams now, she told her family.
There were flight attendants, even. They kept encouraging her to board. But she kept declining, she said.
Over the next few days, with her husband, Robert Muehlberg, watching over her as she succumbed to cancer, Muehlberg remained convinced that she was preparing for a flight.
And then, one evening, it was time.
She told her daughter, Angela Denny, that she would be leaving the next morning, and then she added:
" 'And your dad will be on the next plane. I packed a few things for him because you know how forgetful he is,' " Denny recalled.
Many years earlier - when they were in their 60s, after their children were grown - Robert and Geraldine Muehlberg had begun remarking that when their time came, "they hoped the good Lord would take them together," Denny said.
True to her words, Geraldine Muehlberg died the next morning.
But her prediction about her husband seemed off; he had had heart issues for years but was feeling good.
Two days after her mother's funeral, however, Denny found herself frantically dialing 911: Her father had collapsed.
"His heart, it turned out, was in really bad shape," she said. "The doctor said it was as if it had been holding off as long as it could - and suddenly it just didn't need to anymore."
Geraldine A. Muehlberg, 80, died Jan. 2. Robert D. Muehlberg, 82, died Jan. 17. The couple were married for 58 years.
Services were held at Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church under direction of Moore's Southlawn Funeral Home.
The Muehlbergs, both lifelong Tulsans, met in 1954 on a blind date.
Robert, who was a veteran, was beginning a career as a draftsman with the Army Corps of Engineers. Geraldine was working in communications for Saint Francis Hospital.
They married just three months later.
The remarkable thing about their bond, family members say, was how serious testing only made it stronger.
For starters, the couple endured a number of health challenges.
Robert Muehlberg had his first heart attack when he was in his 30s.
He continued to have heart problems through the years and survived several small strokes.
Geraldine Muehlberg survived breast cancer twice in her 50s and colon cancer in her 70s.
The cruelest blow, though, involved their youngest daughter. Just two weeks before she was to graduate from Oklahoma State University, Mari Anne Muehlberg was killed in a traffic accident.
Any one of these things could destroy a marriage, Denny said.
"But their faith, their commitment to each other and their family enabled them to take things one day at a time - one minute at a time, if needed."
Further cementing the Muehlbergs' bond was their devotion to their church and volunteering.
Active with the Lutheran Missionary Women's League, Geraldine Muehlberg had helped translate the Bible into Braille.
When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, she moved into Denny's home. Her husband moved in, too, unwilling to leave her side.
"They would hold hands every night and say their prayers," she on her bed, he beside her on a fold-out couch, Denny said.
Their desire never to be separated was underscored after Geraldine's funeral. Denny's father told her then that he had asked the Lord "not to tarry."
But the family was sure he had more time.
Just a few days earlier, at a routine appointment with a cardiologist, he received a good report, Denny said.
"His lungs sounded clear, and he was good to go," she said. "The doctor told him he would not likely be on 'the next plane.' We all laughed about it."
The family takes comfort in knowing that even though things turned out differently, the couple are together again.
"We miss them so much," Denny said. "But, really, it was the perfect ending to a perfect love story."
In addition to Denny, the Muehlbergs are also survived by their son, Mark Muehlberg, and six grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Couple wanted to make their 'final flight' together
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Tulsans Robert and Geraldine Muehlberg were married for 58 years after they met on a blind date. The Muehlbergs died in January, within days of each other. Courtesy