'It was hard to tell where one ended and the other started': Incredible story of mother, father AND daughter who were so 'connected at the soul' they died of natural causes within four days of each other

  • Sandy Schulte, 57, was the eldest of five children and born with Down Syndrome
  • She had spent her life living with parents Sharon, 76, and Thomas, 77, to whom she was remarkably close
  • Sandy died on March 7 and Sharon 'let go' the following day
  • Thomas died on March 11
  • The three shared a funeral in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Friday
  • Sharon was holding the urn of Sandy's ashes when she was buried next to her husband

By Joel Christie

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Sharon, Thomas and Sandra Schulte had a connectedness that was mighty for even the strongest of family ties - and one that even linked them in death.

A family of five children, Sandra, 57, who went by the name Sandy, was the eldest.

Born with Down Syndrome, she functioned at the capacity of a four-year-old.

Sandy spent her life living with her parents in the country southeast of St. Cloud, Minnesota, sharing an especially tight bond with her mother Sharon, a writer.

'They were connected at the soul in a way that was quite incredible,' sister Kim Butkowski, told The Mail Online on Sunday.

Inseparable bond: (L-R) Thomas, Sandy Schulte died within four days of each other last week. The three incredibly close family members shared a funeral in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Friday

Inseparable bond: (L-R) Thomas, Sandy Schulte died within four days of each other last week. The three incredibly close family members shared a funeral in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Friday

'With all three, you really couldn't tell where one ended and the other one started.'

Over the last few years, Sandy, who had participated and won medals in the Special Olympics, began to decline.

'Her health was failing and she was very weak,' Kim said.

'Walking was hard and she couldn't feed herself. She seemed to age quickly.'

Then 18 months ago, Sharon was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Her illness got progressively worse and mastacised to brain cancer.

In November of last year, father Thomas began falling over and was experiencing memory loss.

After a visit to the doctors, he too was diagnosed with lung cancer.

All-but incapacitated, the three moved to the Talahi Care Center, a long-term nursing facility.

'Mom's wish was always that she wanted to outlive Sandy,' Kim said.

'Mom and dad wanted to walk Sandy to Heaven's gate - and that's what happened.'

'One soul': Sandy and Sharon Schulte seen here two years ago on Sandy's 55th anniversary. Her health started to decline around this time

'One soul': Sandy and Sharon Schulte seen here two years ago on Sandy's 55th anniversary. Her health started to decline around this time

Sandy passed away on Friday March 7, aged 57.

The following day, Sharon, who had been transferred to Quiet Oaks Hospice House, also died.

She was 76.

'It was like Mom had got her wish and she could just let go,' Kim said.

'That's what we think happened.'

 

Three days later, on Tuesday March 11, Thomas Schulte, a truck driver, died.

He was 77.

The three shared a special funeral on Friday at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home in St. Cloud.

Sandy was cremated and Sharon and Thomas were buried at the Hilltop Mausoleum in Sauk Rapids.

Sharon was put into the ground clutching the urn of her beloved daughter's ashes, as decided upon by Kim and her three brothers Thomas, 54, Troy, 51, and Tedd, 42.

Strongest of ties: Sharon Schulte (left) was buried next to her husband Thomas holding the urn of daughter Sandy's ashes

Strongest of ties: Sharon Schulte (left) was buried next to her husband Thomas holding the urn of daughter Sandy's ashes

'It's what we believed everyone would have wanted, especially Mom,' Kim said.

Because of the amount of people that turned out for the service, estimated at about 200, the funeral was standing only.

Sandy was remembered as a 'child who never had to grow up' who loved the color red.

Sharon was a creative type who authored several books and also wrote jokes for Phyllis Dyller.

She loved going to garage sales.

Thomas 'could fix anything' and loved cars, at one time being a race car driver.

He was a hard-worker who 'failed retirement' three times.

The comments below have not been moderated.

"Suffered" from Down Syndrome. I really wish people wouldn't say that.

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I was out Friday night watching a live band play Rock music - A lovely downs Syndrome girl danced the night away & seemed to know every word of the song's played. It was a joy to watch and she was obviously loved by all the bar staff & customer's.

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Why did God punish the family to begin with, then wipe them all out at the same time?

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I cannot believe your ignorance.

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Punish? Loving and being loved is a gift, my friend.

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God bless and keep you all safe together xx

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Oh that made me cry, Very sad but atleast they are all together now

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"Sharon Schulte, 76, had a wish in life to walk her daughter Sandy to Heaven's gate. And she got it. " Really DM?

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Do you have to be so cynical ?

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That was a quote of what the daughter said.

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How sad but at least they are all together and at peace.RIP to them.

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god bless

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What a wonderful but very sad story tears rolling down my face R.I.P Beautiful Family X .

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Touching story. RIP X

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