A RETIRED vicar died just weeks after he lost his wife of 58 years.
Bob Jones, who was 84, died at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on New Year’s Eve after contracting pneumonia.
He had spent the last years of his life caring for his wife, Margaret, before she died following a medical problem on December 10, a week after her 80th birthday.
The couple’s daughter, Veronica, said: “He was devoted to her in later years, looking after her when she had dementia. In one sense, when she went into care and then when she died, he lost one of the main purposes for living.”
In 1995 the couple moved to Lindley, living opposite St Stephen’s Church, where they were both heavily involved.
Margaret had trained as a lay pastoral minister and was on-call chaplain at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Bob took services when the regular vicar was unavailable.
In 2004, the couple moved into church-run sheltered accommodation in Surrey but moved back to the Huddersfield area in 2005 and continued to attend St Stephen’s.
Veronica added: “They strove to help the community of St Stephen’s and the community benefited from their services.”
Margaret grew up in Salendine Nook and went to Greenhead High School before going to Leicester Teacher Training College.
She later returned to Salendine Nook, taking her first job at Outlane School before working at Hillhouse Girls and Infants School then Overthorpe Infants School.
Bob grew up in Chester, joining the RAF and travelling widely in the UK after school.
His one posting abroad was in Azores in the North Atlantic.
In 1948 he started a degree at Huddersfield Technical College, living at Howard Avenue in Lindley, then in Edgerton and Birkby.
He met Margaret at a religious studies evening course at the old YMCA in 1951.
They married at Huddersfield Parish Church on July 26, 1952.
They had their first daughter Veronica in 1955 and a son, Robert, two years later.
The family moved to Mirfield in 1960 and London in 1962, where Bob gained a degree in divinity at Kings College.
Margaret studied for a diploma in teaching the deaf and taught deaf children and later physically handicapped youngsters.
The family lived in Sprotbrough in South Yorkshire, while Bob lectured in religious education at a teacher training college near Doncaster.
They then lived in Hull where their youngest daughter, Clare, was born in 1970. Margaret studied psychology at the town’s university.
In 1978 she moved to Nigeria for nine months to work as a university lecturer, teaching teachers for the deaf.
She later did a masters degree in audiology in Manchester and went on to work with deaf children as the peripatetic audiologist covering the Calderdale area for 14 years.
Bob trained for the ministry and became a curate, then a team vicar in Dewsbury, where the family lived from 1983 to 1992. He was then vicar at Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge, until 1995.
Margaret became a lay reader in the 1980s.