February 22, 2013

'Surprise - It's a double header'

Heartbroken husband, 94, dies on the way to his 89-year-old wife's funeral after inseparable couple had joked they would 'never leave one spouse behind'

A heartbroken husband who died on the way to his wife's funeral on Saturday was honored by his family in the way that he had lived - and laid to rest alongside his beloved spouse.
Norman Hendrickson, 94, died suddenly en route to his 89-year-old wife Gwendoline's funeral on February 16. The couple had been married for 66 years.

In the midst of their grief, the couple's daughters knew that there was only one thing to do - hold a joint service for their parents who had been inseparable throughout their lives.
Mr Hendrickson, a World War II veteran, was mourned at the same New York funeral home where his wife Gwen's funeral was already scheduled last Saturday.

Mrs Hendrickson was 89 when she died on February 8. Her husband died just steps from the funeral home where he had planned to say goodbye to his wife.  The couple's two daughters Norman and Merrilyne said it was a fitting way to say goodbye to a couple who had been together since meeting in Britain during World War II.  Norman was overseas with the U.S. Army when he met Gwen, who was serving in the British Royal Air Force. She immigrated to America and they were married in May 1947.

 Norman&Gwendoline Hendrickson

Norma Howland told the Post-Star of Glens Falls: 'After we had a little time to process the shock and horror, we felt we couldn't have written a more perfect script.
'My sister said the only thing he didn't do was fall into the casket.'

Mr Hendrickson, a former assistant postmaster in Cambridge, was being driven in a limousine to the Ackley and Ross Funeral Home for his wife's service when he stopped breathing.
After the limo pulled up, funeral director Jim Gariepy, who is also the local coroner, and funeral home owner Elizabeth Nichols-Ross helped move Norman to the sidewalk outside the business.
Gariepy began CPR while Ms Nichols-Ross and one Norman's sons-in-law raced across town to retrieve his do-not-resuscitate orders from the Hendricksons' refrigerator door.

Once the orders were in hand, an emergency crew that had arrived ceased attempts to revive Norman. He died on the sidewalk.

Nichols-Ross said daughter Merrilyne Hendrickson then requested that her father's body be put into a casket and placed in the viewing room with her mother's cremated remains, which had been placed in an urn.

Mourners who started arriving soon after for Gwen's funeral were greeted by a note Merrilyne posted at the entrance: 'Surprise - It's a double header - Gwen and Norman Hendrickson - February 16, 2013.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at February 22, 2013 10:34 AM | Permalink