Sunday 19 January 2020

Couple married for 63 years die 'holding hands'

The last photograph of the couple. Photo: Melissa Sloan
The last photograph of the couple. Photo: Melissa Sloan
Maxine and Don Simpson relax on the couch before Don broke his hip. Photo: Melissa Sloan
The couple's granddaughter captured many moments of the couple holding hands, saying "I love hands, they tell such a story. As they get more comfortable with my camera just being around I will hopefully capture better angles." Photo: Melissa Sloan
A photo of the couple from the 1940s. The Simpsons spent their last weeks together looking at old photographs and reminiscing over their life together. Photo: Melissa Sloan
The couple held hands across the divide between their single hospital beds. Photo: Melissa Sloan
Melissa and her grandmother. Photo: Melissa Sloan
Photo: Melissa Sloan
The earliest picture of the couple, on a skiing honeymoon. The two were avid travellers. Photo: Melissa Sloan
The wedding bands of Don and Maxine Simpson, slightly scuffed after sixty-three years of wear. Photo: Melissa Sloan
Don and Maxine in their final days, holding hands between their hospital beds. Photo: Melissa Sloan
An earlier shot before the couple were confined to bed, playing with their great-grandchild. Photo: Melissa Sloan

Clare Cullen

A couple married for over 63 years went to sleep holding hands and died within four hours of one another.

Don and Maxine Simpson were married for 63 years and "could never bear being apart".

Speaking to the local TV station, their granddaughter Melissa Sloan said their passing was "beautiful".

“They left this world together. It’s absolutely beautiful, and the story is beautiful.

“All Don wanted was to be with his wife. He adored my grandmother.”

Maxine had been battling cancer while Don was hospitalised for a broken hip following a fall.

The couple's granddaughters had brought Don both home from hospital and placed the two in the spare room so they could be together.

“Gram woke up and saw him, and held hands and they knew that they were next to each other."

"We kept them together and had their beds side by side".

The couple spent their last few weeks together 'looking at old family photos'.

A few hours after Maxine died, her body was removed from the room. Sloan said the effect was immediate.

“I walked back in to check on grandpa and he quit breathing as soon as her body left the room. He left with her."

"I know in my heart this is what's supposed to happen".

The couple, who lived in California, met 'in a bowling alley' in the 1940s and fell in love 'from the moment they met'.

He was a civil engineer visiting from North Dakota and married local girl Maxine a few years after meeting her.

They had two adopted sons and were avid members of the local Rotary Club. They loved travelling.

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