CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (AP) – Norman Hendrickson was known for telling jokes and never wasting money. So when he died suddenly while en route to his wife’s funeral, the couple’s daughters knew there was only one thing to do: Hold a doubleheader service.
The 94-year-old World War II veteran’s impromptu wake was held Saturday at the same eastern New York funeral home where his wife Gwen’s funeral was already scheduled. She was 89 when she died on Feb. 8. After Norman died just steps from the funeral home, the daughters decided their parents would be mourned together at the same time.
The daughters said it was a fitting way to say goodbye to a couple who had been together since meeting in Europe during World War II and who had been married for nearly 66 years.
“After we had a little time to process the shock and horror, we felt we couldn’t have written a more perfect script,” Norma Howland told the Post-Star of Glens Falls (
http://bit.ly/VL01Jx). “My sister said the only thing he didn’t do was fall into the casket.”
Norman, a former assistant postmaster in Cambridge, 35 miles northeast of Albany, 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 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 _ Feb. 16, 2013.”
Nichols-Ross said she didn’t charge the family for Norman’s wake. On his prayer card, she jokingly wrote that Hendrickson got the idea to die in the limo headed to the funeral so he could get “a buy-one-get-one-free deal.”
“If it had happened with somebody else like this it would have been sad, but with Norm it wasn’t,” Nichols-Ross said. “It was just so much like Norm.”
Norman was overseas with the U.S. Army when he met Gwen, who was serving in the British Royal Air Force. She immigrated to the U.S. and they were married in May 1947.
Howland said her parents had jokingly promised to never leave one spouse behind. After her mother died, Howland said she overheard her father say aloud, “We have had a good long life together. I love you. I’ll miss you and watch for me.”
Information from: The Post-Star,
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food