FARMINGTON, Minn. – Days before 91-year-old Erling Kindem passed away, his best friend Emmett Rychner, 4, visited him one last time.
“It felt like a goodbye,” mom Anika Rychner told KARE.
Erling, a World War II veteran, passed away on Saturday.
Emmett formed a special bond with his elderly next door neighbor after spotting some tomatoes growing in his garden.
“Every time he saw me out there, he would come running over. ‘Erling, got and ‘matoes?’” Erling told KARE in 2014.
Their story went viral, warming hearts across the country. Their bond survived even after Erling moved into a retirement home and Emmett moved to a different county.
Last week, Anika recorded one of their last conversations on that final visit.
“Listen to your mother and dad, because they’re going to give you the best advice they can,” Erling told Emmett softly.
KARE reports Erling will be laid to rest in the spring with full military honors. Emmett and his family plan to attend.
Check out some of KARE’s coverage of the charming friendship below: