A devoted husband and wife married for 60 years who died within days of each other will be buried together in a double coffin – holding hands.
Loving couple Victor and Elsie Bower, of Parson Cross, will be laid to rest at a service at Grenoside Crematorium on Monday. Elsie, aged 80, died of a broken heart on February 17 just nine days after her beloved husband Victor, 82, died from blood cancer.
It is the first time a double coffin has been used in the funeral service in South Yorkshire.
Daughter Sharon, of Parson Cross, said the couple were teenage sweethearts and 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.
They lived together and died together, so it was only right they went together too. I want them to go together holding hands.
“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’.
“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 had been married for 60 years after tying the knot on March 27, 1954, and had two children, Sharon and Susan, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Victor 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 on February 8.
Elsie suffered with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was suffering with pneumonia when she died in the Northern General Hospital on February 17.
Sharon, 54, said: “They were really close and always together.
“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.”
Sheffield funeral director Michael Fogg, based in Woodhouse, 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.”
He added: “It is the first time a double coffin has been used in South Yorkshire.”
Victor served in Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment, before working in telecommunications in Sheffield and later as a plasterer for the city council, while Elsie worked in inspection at various cutlery factories.
The couple lived on Herries Road, Shirecliffe, before moving to Chesterfield with their young family. They returned to Sheffield and lived on Lindsay Road in Parson Cross for more than 30 years.
After retiring they enjoyed spending almost every weekend in their caravan at Saltfleet, in Lincolnshire.
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