Partners In Life
September 25, 2014
For 54 years, William (Bill) and Lucille Cleve were partners in life.
The Mt. Brydges couple raised three sons, worked hard and shared an unusual hobby. Members of a local CB radio club, Lucille went by the handle “Queen Bee” while Bill was known as “The Silver Stud.”
So when Bill, 76, and Lucille, 75, were terminally ill with cancer, their family and staff at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital agreed they should be together one last time and moved them into the same room last week.
They died 11 hours apart on June 18.
“They didn’t go anywhere without one another,” their eldest son David said. “You never saw one without the other one close by. . . They were partners.”
Though it’s not uncommon for spouses married a long time to die shortly one after the other, Joe O’Neill of O’Neill Funeral Home said he has only seen a couple die in such close proximity a handful of times in his over 30 years as a funeral director.
David remembers his mother as a strong-willed, hardworking woman capable of doing anything. She worked at a local factory and was a busy mother of three boys; David, Tim and Brian.
“She was very cheerful, very happy lady. Never had a bad word to say about anybody,” said David, who also remembered his mother’s fondness for knitting, sewing and crocheting.
David remembers his father Bill working long hours as a truck driver – getting up early and coming home late most nights. But the long hours and hectic schedule never got in the way of his relationship with his wife or children. Bill was a genuine and caring man with a charismatic personality.
“He was a jokester. . . He always had a story. He was a storyteller his whole life,” David said. “He drove trucks so he met a lot of people, talked to a lot of people and saw a lot of things on the road.”
When Bill and Lucille weren’t working or raising their three sons, they became “Queen Bee” and the “The Silver Stud” on the airwaves of CB radio.
Because they grew up with modest means, Bill and Lucille were kind and caring people who saw the value in simple things, their son said.
Shortly after they moved to Mt. Brydges, the couple took in a family of four who had been burned out of their house.
“They would help anybody,” David said. “They were very generous people and helped whenever they could, whatever they could.”