Belfast Telegraph

Inseparable to the end: Cookstown couple Bobby and Norma Armstrong who died just hours apart

By Adrian Rutherford

For nearly 70 years they were inseparable. Now a devoted couple are together again after they passed away within hours of each other.

Bobby and Norma Armstrong from Cookstown, who were aged in their 80s, died just a day apart.

They were buried side by side, ensuring a close bond lasting 67 years will continue.

The poignant timing of their deaths has caused shock and sadness in the Cookstown area, where the couple were well known.

Rev Barry Paine, who knew them well and officiated at their funeral services, said they were a devoted couple.

"They were devoted to each other and were a very interesting couple," he said.

"Bobby would have told you many a yarn because he was a publican for a number of years. He had a great sense of humour and was very witty.

"He was very intelligent and outgoing, a very pleasant man.

"What makes it all the more poignant is that his wife passed away the next day."

Bobby and Norma, who lived at Stewart Avenue in Cookstown, were married on September 17, 1947 in First Cookstown Presbyterian Church and spent the next 67 years together.

Mr Armstrong passed away last Wednesday at Antrim Area Hospital. The following day his wife died suddenly at their home.

They were buried together at Cookstown cemetery after separate funeral services at Derryloran Parish Church on Friday and Sunday. Rev Paine said the couple were well known. "They lived in Stewartstown for seven years and Coagh for 23 years before coming to Cookstown," he continued.

"Bobby was also very popular in the band scene, especially piping. He was a great piper."

The minister said their deaths had left the Mid-Ulster community deeply shocked and saddened.

"It took everybody by shock," he added.

A family death notice for Norma described her as a much-loved mother, a loving grandmother and a great grandmother. Mr Armstrong was also described as a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather.

Mid-Ulster MLA Ian McCrea, who knew the couple, said they were always seen together.

"Some people will see it as very poignant but the family have lost two loved ones and it has been very hard to take," he said.

Friends and neighbours have also spoken of their sadness.

One recalled: "Bobby and Norma were always together during their lifetime and it was always the case, when you got a hearty 'hello' from Bobby, Norma was never far away. Bobby was a very popular personality having been in business all his life."

QUOTES

"They were devoted to each other and were a very interesting couple. Bobby would have told you many a yarn because he was a publican for a number of years. He had a great sense of humour and was very witty. He was very intelligent and outgoing, a very pleasant man. What makes it all the more poignant is that his wife passed away the next day."

Rev Barry Paine speaking about devoted couple Bobby and Norma Armstrong who died a day apart

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