‘They were wonderful people’: Janesville neighbors left heartbroken after couple dies from lightning strike near White House

JANESVILLE, Wis. — After a husband and wife from Janesville died after being struck by lightning near the White House Thursday night, neighbors woke up Friday heartbroken to hear about the kind elderly couple who lived in their area.

Jacqui Hein and Milford Jensen are just two of the people in the neighborhood where 76-year-old James Mueller and 75-year-old Donna Mueller lived.

“They were extremely pleasant, wonderful people,” Hein, who lived across the street from the couple, said. “When my daughter had her baby last year, Donna was very interested in the baby, super sweet, she came over and saw her.” 

The couple was celebrating 56 years of marriage on a trip to Washington D.C. when the lightning strike took their lives.

Jensen said he saw the couple recently. He was taken aback by the news.

“I talked to him quite often,” Jensen said. “I just couldn’t believe it. Of all the places you could be where lightning comes down, it doesn’t make sense.” 

RELATED: Janesville couple killed in lightning strike near White House was celebrating anniversary, family says

The couple was in Washington, D.C. celebrating their wedding anniversary, their niece Michelle McNett told News 3 Now. The two were high school sweethearts and were semi-retired. They had five children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“Both would do anything for their family and friends,” McNett said.

“They were just a total pleasure to be neighbors with and it’s going to be a big loss for our whole community,” Hein said.

“It’s a bad, bad situation,” Jensen said. “I feel so sorry for that family.”

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The family is asking for prayers and privacy as they navigate through the sudden tragedy.