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Indianapolis woman speaks out on husband's unexpected death from cardiac event

"We wrote each other every day. I still have all of his letters and he still had all of mine."
 A life taken far too soon Project
Posted at 8:18 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 20:18:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Jennifer and Arcenio Rumbaoa’s love story is something that is made for Hollywood.

The pair spent more than 18 years together and made countless memories that are documented in photographs and letters that they wrote back and forth together while Arcenio served time in Iraq.

"Smitten the minute I saw him, totally smitten. He had blue contacts and so you had this dark Filipino skin, bald head guy with blue contacts, Jennifer Rumbaoa said. “We wrote each other every day, I still have all of his letters and he still had all of mine, they are all still in chronological order."

But today, Jennifer Rumbaoa has a heavy heart following her husband's unexpected death.

Arcenio Rumbaoa's life was cut short Sunday, Feb. 20 following a workout that included interval sprints, something that the two often did together.

“We come back in and he was over the kitchen counter just trying to catch his breath. He tells me his chest hurt. I asked him if anything else hurt, he said no. I said, 'Are you nauseous?' and he said yes. I stepped out of the room briefly and when I came back, he was on the floor,” Jennifer Rumbaoa said.

Arcenio Rumbaoa was 49 years old. His death was the result of a cardiac event.

“He had an artery that was 95 to 99% blocked,” Jennifer Rumbaoa said.

Arcenio Rumbaoa has a long list of accomplishments. Most recently, he spent time as a firefighter and paramedic for Jackson Township in Hamilton County and a member of Indiana Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 1.

“It’s the stuff that he did when people weren't looking that I think had the greater impact on why so many people have been reaching out. He would take his time to help another soldier out,” Jennifer Rumbaoa added.

Jennifer Rumbaoa said that he had cardiovascular disease and that he was was often tired. Now she is reminding others to listen to their bodies.

“If we learn anything from this, if we can prevent somebody else from experiencing this, is please get a heart scan. Trust your body when there is something wrong,” Jennifer Rumbaoa said.