Province’s oldest married couple die less than a year apart

Northern Ireland’s oldest married couple have passed away less than a year apart, both reaching the age of 102.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 7:28 pm
Randalstown couple Joseph and Nellie Graham both died after reaching the age of 102

Joseph Graham died in December last year and, following a spell in hospital and a nursing home, his wife Nellie passed away yesterday – nine days shy of what would have been the Randalstown couple’s 79th wedding anniversary.

Their granddaughter Joanne, 36, said: “They both died of old age. Of course it’s still sad, but it’s very nice the length of time they had.

“At 95, 96 they both said they would never get to 100. They both got to 102.

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“It was always the same routine when you went to their house, nothing changed. You were treated the same now as you were 30 years ago. Granny wouldn’t have you doing anything – she’d put you to shame. Anytime you visited you left revitalised, refreshed.”

Joanne said routine was an important factor in her grandparents longevity: “Granny wouldn’t have bought any of these pre-cooked meals, everything had to be homemade. 12 o’clock was dinner, four o’clock was tea, at seven o’clock you got a cup of tea and a bun and up again at seven o’clock for breakfast. If she was out anywhere she always had to be back for those times. She was like clockwork.”

Joanne said: “Just after granddad died she fell in the house and had to go into hospital for three or four months. She deteriorated and had to go into a home after that. She wanted to go home, she missed home, but she had no one there to care for her in the same way as they could in a nursing home.

“That does happen, when somebody dies, when they’ve been together for so long, the other goes not that long after.”

Nellie’s funeral takes place tomorrow at 1pm at Logan Funeral Services in Ahoghill.

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