CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. — Norman Hendrickson was known for telling jokes and never wasting money. So when he died suddenly while en route to his wife's funeral, the couple's daughters knew there was only one thing to do: Hold a doubleheader service.
The 94-year-old World War II veteran's impromptu wake was held Saturday at the same eastern New York funeral home where a funeral was already scheduled for his wife Gwen, who died eight days earlier at 89.
The daughters said it was a fitting way to say goodbye to a couple who had been together since meeting in Europe during World War II and who had been married for nearly 66 years.
"After we had a little time to process the shock and horror, we felt we couldn't have written a more perfect script," Norma Howland told the Post-Star of Glens Falls. "My sister said the only thing he didn't do was fall into the casket."
Ross Funeral Home owner Elizabeth Nichols-Ross said daughter Merrilyne Hendrickson requested that her father's body be put into a casket and placed in the viewing room with the urn containing her mother's cremains. Mourners who started arriving soon after for Gwen's funeral were greeted by a note Merrilyne posted at the entrance: "Surprise — It's a double header — Gwen and Norman Hendrickson — Feb. 16, 2013."
Nichols-Ross said she didn't charge the family for Norman's wake. On his prayer card, she jokingly wrote that Hendrickson got the idea to die in the limo headed to the funeral so he could get "a buy-one-get-one-free deal."
"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."