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Couple closer than ever after husband's brush with death

Longtime couple gets second chance
Couple's second chance shows how love outlasts death 02:47

DENVILLE, N.J. -- At St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville, New Jersey, they still can’t stop talking about it.

A few months ago, emergency responders got a call for a man with chest pain -- and what a heart they found.

Emergency responders to Joe Leifken CBS News

“First thing he said was ‘don’t let me die,’” said Kevin Duffy.

“He said that to me too. He said all he wanted to do was take his wife out to Ruth’s Chris for dinner,” said Sarah Crelin.

Her favorite restaurant.

“It was pretty cute,” Sarah said.

Those were the final words of 91-year-old Joe Leifken; His last wish before suffering a major heart attack was to take his wife to dinner one last time.

“It seemed as though he loved her a great deal,” Sarah said.

His wife Margie can’t tell you how hard it is to lose the love of your life. Can’t tell you because her husband’s death was short-lived.

Joe was gone just 10 minutes before medics restarted his heart, and what amazed them was what he woke up shouting.

“He said, ‘Ruth’s Chris!’” Sarah said.

He’s coming back from the dead and he’s saying the same thing? “Exactly, he said exactly the same thing.”

Joe and Margie CBS News

Joe got his dinner with Margie, on the house of course. But they say the greater gift is still giving.

“We’re just closer, if that’s possible,” Margie said.

“Oh, yeah. She’s one in a million” Joe said. “I can still make her swoon. You want to see it?”

This weekend, couples across America will go out assuming there will be many more Valentines to come. But not Joe and Margie. They will go to dinner appreciating each other now more than ever. 

“She’s got six men…” Joe started.

“No, don’t say that! Please don’t say that, you’re on the air!” Margie pleaded.


“And they’re all waiting for me to check out,” Joe said.

“You shouldn’t say that,” Margie said.

“You’ve got so many guys that love you,” Joe said.

“You’re on the air!” Margie said, trying to cover Joe’s mouth.

“Well, he’s going to cut this all out,” Joe said.

You gotta love young love.

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