Norman Hendrickson Dies Outside Wife's Funeral Service

| by Michael Allen

Norman Hendrickson, 94, recently died just steps from the Ackley and Ross Funeral Home in Cambridge, New York, where his wife's funeral was scheduled to take place.

According to the Post-Star, the couple's daughters then held a doubleheader service. The daughters decided their parents, married for nearly 66 years, would be mourned together at the same time.

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

Norman was being driven in a limousine to the Ackley and Ross Funeral Home for his late wife's service when he stopped breathing. After the limo pulled up, funeral director Jim Gariepy 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 drove across town to retrieve his do-not-resuscitate orders from the Hendricksons' refrigerator door.

Once the do-not-resuscitate orders were in hand, an emergency crew that had arrived ceased attempts to revive Norman, who died on the sidewalk.

Daughter Merrilyne Hendrickson 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 were greeted by a note posted at the entrance: "Surprise — It's a double header — Gwen and Norman Hendrickson — Feb. 16, 2013."

Nichols-Ross said didn't charge the family for Norman's wake. On his prayer card, she jokingly wrote that Norman got "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.

Source: Post-Star