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Married 75 years: Elderly couple killed in California wildfires grew up in Wisconsin, went to UW

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NAPA, California -- A family member says an elderly couple that died in a Northern California fire was together since grade school and celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last year.

Mike Rippey said Tuesday, October 10th his 100-year-old father, Charles, and 98-year-old mother, Sara, grew up in a small town in Wisconsin (reportedly Hartford), and went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison together. They were together since grade school.

Mike Rippey said his parents started a family after his father returned from fighting in World War II, and they eventually settled in Napa after raising their five children.

Rippey said his mother didn't move well, and his parents were unable to get out before the blaze destroyed their home. His brother found their bodies on Monday.

"We often talked among each other about how either one of them would deal with life without the other, and we were definitely not looking forward to the day when one of them would die and the other would have to go on without the other. Especially my father. He loved my mother. He called her the Queen right up until the end. We can see by where they found his body that he was trying to get from his room to her room -- and he never made it. Even if he had gotten there and couldn't get her out, she just couldn't move well at all. There's no way he would've left," Mike Rippey said.

At least 21 have been killed in the wildfires, including Charles and Sara Rippey.

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