Prominent GOP activist and businessman Charles Snelling and his wife, Adrienne, were found dead in their Fogelsville home on Thursday morning in what family members say was a murder-suicide.
Both were 81.
Adrienne suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
In a statement family members released to local media, they said Mr. Snelling "could no longer bear to see the love of his life deteriorate further," choosing to end her life and then his own.
Timothy Hennessey, aide to state Sen. Bob Mensch, called Charles Snelling "a visionary, an entrepreneur and a friend to us all."
"Their legacy will endure through their generous commitment to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest College, and many other organizations. My thoughts and prayers are with the Snelling family and all those who know Charlie and Adrienne," he told Patch.
Police and the Lehigh County coroner's office have so far declined to identify the victims pending notification of next of kin. The bodies were found around 9 a.m.
Snelling took part in the "Life Report" project of New York Times writer David Brooks. A Dec. 7, 2011 entry titled "A Love Story and Redemption," told how the Snellings came to terms with Adrienne's Alzheimer's diagnosis six years ago.
Their romance of more than 60 years began when Charles was a sophomore at and Adrienne was a student at Cedar Crest College. Snelling graduated from Lehigh in 1954.
The Times article quoted Charles as saying, "Although (Adrienne) is a very, very sick puppy, she remains to this day a sweet, happy, loving and generous person. How lucky for both of us. To have such an affliction in the household is a very learning experience... After all, this lady rescued me from a fate worse than death, and for a long, long time. What I am doing for her pales beside all that she has done for me for more than half a century."
The Snellings are survived by five children and 11 grandchildren.
Charles Snelling was chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority since 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him to serve on the authority board of directors.
Snelling founded a company called Cryotherm and held 20 patents.
He served four years as president of Allentown City Council.