Just months after celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary, Sara and Charles Rippey died in this week’s wildfires. They are the only two confirmed deaths in Napa County related to the fires.
Across Northern California counties, there reportedly have been at least 13 deaths associated with the fire as of Tuesday morning.
The Napa couple was unable to escape their home on Atlas Peak Road, which caught fire Sunday night, their granddaughter, Ruby Gibney, told KTVU-TV.
Charles, also known as Peach, had just turned 100 in July. Sara was 99.
“The only thing worse would have been if one survived without the other,” Gibney told KTVU.
They were married March 20, 1942.
Charlie was a veteran and served four years in World War II, according to the couple’s anniversary announcement published in the Register last March. He attained the rank of captain in the Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed in Europe and North Africa. He had a successful career at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company until 1978, when he went to work for Norris Industries in Brea, California.
Sara was a bridge player, took care of the family and a succession of beautiful homes.
Both enjoyed playing golf and tennis at Napa Valley Country Club.
The Rippeys have lived in Napa for 35 years – longer than they lived anywhere else.
They leave behind five children, 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
All of their five children were in Napa to celebrate with them in early March. They also have 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Efforts to reach the family Tuesday morning were unsuccessful.