FARMINGTON, Minn. – The friendship between Erling Kindem, 91, and Emmett Rychner, 4, inspired people across the country when their story went viral more than two years ago. On Saturday afternoon, Erling passed away.
Erling, a World War II veteran, lived next door to Emmett. The then 89-year-old told KARE in 2014 that Emmett would wander into his yard to inspect his garden.
“Every time he saw me out there, he would come running over. ‘Erling, got and ‘matoes?'” Erling told KARE in 2014.
Erling and Emmett’s friendship grew. Soon, they were playing croquet and riding bikes together. Eventually, Emmett and his family moved to a different county, and Erling moved into a retirement home. But they continued to see each other for play-dates and special occasions.
KARE reports on Saturday, Erling died at the senior care home where he lived. His wife died last year.
Check out some of KARE’s coverage of the charming friendship below.