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A man spread the ashes of his wife of 64 years into their favorite Indiana lake. Then he 'dropped dead'

Jerry Davich, Post-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Just minutes after fulfilling his wife's final wish – scattering her ashes in Stone Lake in Indiana – Ralph Seichi Miyata collapsed in the water and later died, joining her first into the lake and then into the afterlife.

Married for 64 years, the couple lived most of those years in LaPorte, Ind., where they enjoyed Stone Lake, part of the larger Pine Lake. There, Margie Miyata logged many miles of swimming, enjoyed slalom water skiing, and loved the challenge of wind surfing. Ralph, proud captain of his chartered boat the Banzai (a Japanese battle cry), loved to fish with Margie and their four children.

"To this day, he is a legend to the fishermen," states his obituary, written by the couple's daughter, Jill Miyata Spencer.

The couple met in Chicago, tying the knot June 5, 1955, and living in Illinois until 1965 when they moved to Indiana. In 2012, they moved to Florida, but obviously their hearts never left LaPorte, where they dropped anchor as a family.

During World War II, Ralph's family was housed at an internment camp in Arizona for Japanese-American citizens, forced to give up all their possessions but not their pride, Spencer said.

"My father was one of the proudest people to be an American. He always proudly displayed the American flag despite what America did to his family," his obit states. "It's amazing how resilient and forgiving my father was... he did not hold a grudge against the country he loved so much."


Ralph had an even fiercer love for Margie.

"My parents' story is a beautiful bond of deep love," Spencer said.

On April 21 of this year, Easter Day, Margie died while in hospice care at a nursing home in Florida. She was 87. Ralph knew what he had to do – spread her cremated ashes in her "happy place" of Stone Lake.

"Dad was very adamant, he did not want any of us kids to be with him. This was something he wanted to do in private," Spencer said.


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