Indiana Man Dies of Sudden Heart Attack While Scattering Wife’s Ashes in Nearby Lake

Shelbi Malonson
By Shelbi Malonson
June 9, 2019US News
Indiana Man Dies of Sudden Heart Attack While Scattering Wife’s Ashes in Nearby Lake
Pine Lake in LaPorte County, Indiana. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

While scattering his late wife’s ashes across an Indiana lake, an 88-year-old widower reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack. He immediately fell off the lake’s dock and into the water.

Ralph Miyata, the widower, was in the process of scattering the remains of his wife over Pine Lake in LaPorte County, Indiana, around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, when he fell into about seven feet of water, according to local news station WSBT.

James Sprecher, a retired doctor and friend of Miyata’s for the past 30-years, told the local news outlet that he was present for the accident. He had offered to help Miyata, giving him a hand in getting off a boat and onto the Pine Lake dock. Moments after he turned away, he heard a noticeable splash as his elderly friend hit the water after falling off of the dock.

After being pulled out of the lake, Miyata did not have a pulse. Sprecher performed CPR immediately.

Bob Cutler, LaPorte County Coroner, reported that the official cause of death was acute myocardial arrest.

“It was not a drowning,” James Sprecher said. “He was dead when he hit the water.”

Miyata’s wife passed away a few months ago in late April. After her death, Miyata decided to spread her ashes over Pine Lake. He and his wife would often swim, water ski, and go sailing together in the summertime, according to Sprecher.

“He had completed his mission, which was putting his wife’s ashes into the lake,” Sprecher said.

Miyata has reportedly taken the same path as his late wife, as he has also been cremated, according to his obituary.

Massachusetts Couple

Mysterious as it may be, the phenomena of long-time married couples passing away together, or within a short time of one another, is fairly common.

A Massachusetts couple died within hours after 63 years of marriage, family members said.

Richard “Chick” Nylen told his daughter before his death that her mother, Blanche Nylen, who had been battling cancer, wasn’t doing well.

“My dad said, ‘Mom said she’s ready, but she’s not going to go before the holidays. She doesn’t want to ruin the holidays,’” Christina Queeney, the couple’s daughter, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette of a conversation they had just before Christmas. “And he said, ‘She wants me to go with her.’”

Queeney told her dad that things don’t work like that.

“I said, ‘Dad, this is not “The Notebook,” this is not TV,’” she recalled. “He winked at me and he said, ‘We’re going to go together.’”

Richard died on Feb. 2. Blanche died just hours later.

A few days later, the Nylens were cremated and entombed in the same vault at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Queeney remembered that her parents were practically inseparable. “It was always Chick and Blanche, Mom and Dad, Grammy and Pop,” she said. “They were always in love.”

“It was a good thing that they went together,” she added. “The meaning of it was so precious. For them, it was always about love.”

According to the couple’s joint obituary, they were both 85 when they died after being married for 63 years.

Richard Nylen was born in Worcester on Oct. 4, 1933, and lived most of his life in Holden. Blanche Nylen was born in Ware on Oct. 10, 1933, and lived most of her life in Holden.

Richard Nylen worked as a machinist at the Norton Company before working at Olson Manufacturing and, after retirement, at the Margaret A. Rice Elementary School. He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War.

Blanche Nylen was a devoted mother who worked part time as a bookkeeper at the former Century Supermarket and, later, Micro Networks. She was also an artist.

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