Man Buried Beside Wife After Dying on the Way to Her Funeral

"Till death do us part" was clearly absent from the vows of one upstate New York man who passed away while riding in a limo on the way to his wife's funeral.

Norman Hendrickson had just lost his wife of 66 years the week before, but they would be reunited sooner than anyone anticipated — and at just the right time for the bargain hunting 94-year-old.

"Have you heard the one about the guy who's in the limo on the way to his wife's funeral and got the bright idea that if he died before he got there he might be able to get a buy-one-get-one-free deal?" funeral home director and family friend Elizabeth Nichols-Ross wrote in Norman's prayer card.

Nichols-Ross told Reuters that if anyone would have appreciated the irony of the situation, it would be the WWII vet. "I don't blush easily, but he told [jokes] that made you blush," she said.

His family clearly had their patriarch's facetious spirit in mind when they put together a greeting for mourners that read "Surprise - It's a double header - Gwen and Norman Hendrickson."

The truth is, Norman's death caught the family off guard as well.

With just a half-hour to go before services for Gwen were set to start, Nichols-Ross learned that Norman, who was on the way to the Ackley & Ross Funeral Home in Cambridge, had suddenly stopped breathing.

Funeral director Jim Gariepy rushed to the scene and began to perform CPR, but Norman's do-not-resuscitate orders were soon produced, and he was allowed to expire in peace.

"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 Glens Falls Post Star. "My sister said the only thing he didn't do was fall into the casket."

Norman and Gwen were ultimately laid to rest side by side.

"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."

[photo via handout]