The courage to die

The day he was to die, Vernon Gearhard had breakfast with Fran, his wife of 57 years, their three children and their spouses.

He listened to some of his favorite music – classical pianist Johannes Brahms and opera singer Kathleen Battle – and around noon, he and Fran sat on their terrace. The sun peeked out from behind rain clouds and two bald eagles and several raven flew around nearby, lingering in the area as the couple watched.

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