18 November 2013

Deadly Coincidence: Charles and Sophie Ett Leiner

The story of the deaths of Sophie and Charles Leiner take the marriage bond to a whole new level. A relative alerted me to the circumstances of their death and, I thought, "That probably made the newspapers." It did. And the story was picked up by several papers nation-wide.

I located this article in the Google News Archive. It was published in the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, 7 November 1949.
Husband Follows
Wife in Death
  New York - (AP) - Sophie Leiner, 54, died in her husband's arms early yesterday after a heart attack.
  "What am I going to do without her?" grieved Charles Leiner, 60, to his son.
  An ambulance doctor came and pronounced Mrs. Leiner dead of a heart attack.
  The doctor then returned to the hospital, but when he arrived was told to turn back.
  Returning to the Leiner home, the doctor found the husband dead of a heart attack - just 15 minutes after his wife's death. 

Sophie Ett Leiner was my grandmother, Tillie Liebross Wilson's, first cousin. She emigrated to the United States from Torskie, Austria (today Torske, Ukraine) in 1910. [1] [2]

She and Charles, a native New Yorker, were married in Brooklyn on 22 June 1918. [2] They had five children: Jerome, Seymour, Pearl, and twins Jack and Robert. 

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 2 August 2008), manifest, Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, Hamberg to New York, arriving 23 July 1910, List 49, Passenger 18, Sprince Ett; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
2.  Torske is one of those places that JewishGen does not include in its Communities Database because, it is believed, it had too few Jewish people. It can be found, however, in the JewishGen Gazetteer.
3. Kings County County, New York, Certificate and Record of Marriage no. 7336 (22 June 1918), Charles Leiner and Sophie Ettinger [sic], New York City Municipal Archives, New York.


  1. Interesting that the marriage certificate listed Sophie as Ettinger not Ett

    1. Must not have checked the name with Sophie. I think it would be interesting to see the actual marriage license application that Charles and Sophie filled out. I'll have to try and get that.

  2. Wow, what an interesting addition to your family history. I've heard of couples dying within days or hours, but minutes? and at relatively young ages? He must have loved her so deeply!

    1. That's a wonderful observation. Thank you, Elizabeth.

  3. My great grandparents Simon and Chaye (Stischa) Levene died on the same date in 1910.When I visited their landsmanshaft plot with a second cousin, I photographed two other Levene graves and last week made contact with a whole new bunch of third cousins after figuring out the relationship.

  4. Way to go, Peter! Nice work. And congrats on extending the family.

    It seems to me this scenario - when couples die on the same day due to natural causes - is a testament to their devotion to each other.


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