Elderly couple who were married for 71 years died just FOUR minutes apart


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

World War Two veteran Wilf Russell and his wife Vera passed away only four minutes apart

An elderly couple who were married for 71 years passed away within four minutes of each other.

Vera Russell, 91, passed away last Wednesday only four minutes after her husband Wilf, 93, despite being in a different hospital three miles away.

Even more tragically, Vera died without knowing that her husband had passed away, but her granddaughter Stephanie thinks that she did somehow know.

Wilf and Vera were married for 71 years (Credit: SWNS) ©SWNS

War veteran Wilf, who served with the RAF in World War Two and fought in Italy and North Africa, was diagnosed with dementia last year and was in a care home in Wigston when he passed away.

The family describe how Vera's health started to deteriorate after Wilf could not recognise her anymore, and she was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary in January. Granddaughter Stephanie Welch, 44, said: "My granddad was diagnosed with dementia a year ago and he had to go into the care home a couple of months back.

"My nan went to see him recently and he didn't recognise her at all. Her health started deteriorating from that day.

"I went to visit her at Leicester Royal Infirmary and she opened her eyes and asked me where Wilf was. The last thing she said to me was: 'We're a right pair, aren't we?'"

Vera passed away at Leicester Royal Infirmary (Credit: SWNS) ©SWNS

Stephanie describes how she thinks her grandmother did know that her husband had passed: "He died at 6.50am and she died at 6.54am without being told about Wilf. I think she was waiting for him to go. She was broken-hearted."

Wilf and Vera, who lived in West Bromwich in the Midlands after their marriage, had three sons, five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

They met when Wilf was 18 and Vera was just 16, becoming engaged before he was sent to North Africa with the RAF during World War Two and marrying as soon as he returned.

He worked as an engineer, and she worked part-time in a cake shop.

Vera and Wilf married when he returned from serving with the RAF in World War Two (Credit: SWNS) ©SWNS

They had three sons, Peter, Colin and Gary, who had multiple sclerosis and passed away in his 30s. The couple then made the decision to move to Oadby in Leicestershire 10 years ago to be closer to their son Peter, 70, and his family.

Peter, a retired IT worker described how some people considered his parents' story "romantic": "Most people who hear about what happened have put some sort of romantic feel to it. They were a typical couple for their generation in terms of having a good attitude to want people to get on with things and have a good education and good manners."

But Peter himself did not seem to agree with those thoughts: "I think they were fairly normal for their generation. Dad was only in the RAF during the war and was demobbed fairly soon afterwards. He didn't talk a lot about it but I know he was in North Africa and Italy."

Wilf passed away at his care home in Leicestershire (Credit: SWNS) ©SWNS

His daughter Stephanie added that her grandparents were a "very close couple" who "adored" their family: "Vera very much spoke for them as a couple and Wilf went along with whatever she said. Maybe that's why they lasted so long.

"They had a lot in common and never spent a night apart throughout their entire marriage until Wilf had to move into the care home. I remember they would always spend months and months trying to repair things rather than waste money on ever buying anything new.

"They were also very family-oriented and really loved us all."

The family will hold a joint funeral for the couple in Great Glen.

Do you or a loved one know anyone who has been married over 60 years? We'd love to hear from you - get in touch over on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more like this:

Adorable couple who are celebrating their 86th year together reveal the secrets to a happy marriage

Ridiculously cute elderly couple prove true love still exists

50 ways to make your relationship last forever, from loved-up elderly couples!

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us