THEY were a couple completely devoted to each other.
Ronnie and Connie Pilling, of Emley, had been together for 70 years and were still in love.
Now their family are planning a joint funeral service, after the couple died within 12 hours of each other.
“It’s how they would have wanted it to be,” said their daughter, Tina Martin.
“Dad went first and Mum knew she could not live without him.”
Mr Pilling, 86, died in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary last Saturday evening after battling pneumonia.
His wife was at his bedside but she died at their Emley home just before 7am on Sunday.
Mrs Martin said: “The last evening, just before he died, Dad sang ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to Mum as we played a CD in his hospital room.
“It was just how they wanted it. They met at a dance and they still loved to dance together.”
Mr Pilling had been suffering from pneumonia for seven weeks and his wife visited him almost every day.
She is thought to have died of a blood clot but her daughter said: “We know she died of a broken heart.”
The couple had met at a dance in the former Cambridge Road Baths in Huddersfield and married in 1942 – 67 years ago – at Linthwaite Parish Church.
Both had worked in the textile industry, Mr Pilling making leather belts for machinery and his wife as a hank winder at James Dyson’s Linthwaite dyehouse.
Later Mr Pilling went to work at David Brown Tractors before the couple decided on a dramatic change in lifestyle and moved to New Zealand.
Mrs Martin said: “They were there for five years before coming back to Huddersfield.
“Dad had worked as a crane driver and Mum came back to be a cook at Lodges’ supermarket.
“They were extremely close. They just loved each other’s company and would sit at home on an evening, pull their chairs together, holding hands as they watched TV.
“My Mum knew Dad was dying and said she was going to go with him. We knew what she meant but never expected it to be so soon.
“She just could not think of carrying on without him.”
The couple leave four daughters – Margaret, Joan, Susan and Tina – plus nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A funeral service is at St Michael’s Church, Emley, at 12.30pm on Monday, May 18.