Elderly couple die hours apart after 61 years of marriage

Married for 61 years, Peter and Ruth Bedford were inseparable – even in death.

Mr Bedford, 86, fell ill Saturday evening last week and was admitted to hospital.

His daughter Caroline believes her mother knew her sweetheart was not coming home, and the 83-year-old woman died just hours before her husband, on May 14.

“I think Mum decided he wasn’t coming back,” Caroline told Stuff NZ.

Peter and Ruth Bedford died hours apart after 61 years of marriage. Source: Getty, file

“She died at 10am on Monday morning and I got a message to Dad. He followed her about nine hours later.

“It’s good they went together. They would have been completely lost without each other.”

The Kaikohe couple were married on December 30, 1957 and enjoyed 61 years of hiking, gardening and going to concerts together.

The pair were well known in their community and were heavily involved in the local Agricultural and Pastoral Show.

The couple are survived by their three children Michael, Simon and Caroline, and two grandchildren.

Caroline’s 31-year-old daughter Cadence described her grandparents’ passing on the same day as “a beautiful thing”.

“That’s something incredibly special,” she told the New Zealand Herald.

Their funeral is on Wednesday.