IN THEIR 60 years of marriage they could never bear to be apart. Now after dying within a few days of each other, devoted couple Victor and Elsie Bower will be going on their final journey in a double coffin holding hands.
Mrs Bower, 80, died on February 17 nine days after her beloved husband, 82, died from blood cancer.
Daughter Sharon said the inseperable couple, who had been together since they were teenagers, would not have wanted to be apart.
She said: “They were always together. They used to cry a lot if they ever had to spend time apart.
“Although my mum had medical problems, it was a broken heart that she died from.
“We knew she was going to die, it was just a case of when because she said to us: ‘I’m sorry for leaving you all’.
It didn’t seem right to have separate coffins when all Elsie wanted to be was by the side of Victor.Funeral director Michael Fogg
“They lived together and died together, so it was only right they went together too.
“I want them to go together holding hands.”
The couple, from Sheffield, tied the knot on March 27, 1954, and had two children, Sharon and Susan, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mr Bower was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and had gone into remission, only for it to return last year. He passed away at the Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield on February 8.
Mrs Bower had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for some years and was suffering with pneumonia when she died in the nearby Northern General Hospital.
Mr Bower was an artilleryman with the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment before working in telecommunications and later as a plasterer for the city council.
Mrs Bower worked in inspection at various cutlery factories.
Daughter Sharon Bower, 54, said: “They were really close and always together. They always had their little jokes with each other, always laughing. Dad was a hopeless romantic and made sure to buy my mum flowers and take her out for nice meals. She was a lucky lady. Mum was in a wheelchair and on oxygen and because of that she never got to see him in hospital which upset her.
“We were going to try and get her down, but he died the night before.”
The couple’s funeral will be the first time a double coffin has been used in the funeral service in South Yorkshire. Funeral director Michael Fogg was happy to help the family with their unusual request.
Mr Fogg said: “We were already looking after Victor’s funeral, so it wasn’t until the night I was arranging it that Sharon told me Elsie had passed away.
“I thought what can I do as a funeral director to support a couple that even death couldn’t keep apart.
“To me it didn’t seem right to have separate coffins when all Elsie wanted to be was by the side of Victor.
“It is the first time a double coffin has been used in South Yorkshire. I’ve had to have this coffin specially made, the logistics of it have been a nightmare but who am I to separate two people who can’t be separated even in death?”
The couple lived in Sheffield before moving to Chesterfield with their young family. They returned to Sheffield and lived in Parson Cross for more than 30 years. After retiring they enjoyed spending almost every weekend in their caravan at Saltfleet, Lincolnshire.
The couple’s funeral is being held on Monday.