Don and Audrey Moor were ordinary folk.
They lived in the same modest house in Rutherford they had built together in the 1960s and in which they raised their two children, Anthony and Helen.
Ask anyone about the couple and they’d tell you that neither of them had a bad bone in their bodies; wouldn’t hurt a fly.
But the love that Don and Audrey shared for more than half a century was far from ordinary. It knew no bounds.
And so, when Audrey was told that her beloved Don had died peacefully in Maitland Private Hospital in the early hours of last Wednesday morning, there was only one thing left for her to do.
She would go too.
Audrey, a patient in Maitland Public Hospital on the other side of the city, died later that same day.
While her medical records will show that she suffered a massive seizure, Anthony and Helen believe Audrey died of a broken heart.
Today, Don, 88, and Audrey, 77, will be buried together in the Anglican Cemetery at Lochinvar.
Born in the front bedroom of a house in Merewether, Don began his career making rabbit traps for “18 bob a week” at the age of 16, gaining qualifications and experience at various foundaries across Newcastle, including BHP.
Audrey was the daughter of a school principal and became a librarian in Newcastle and eventually at All Saints College, St Joseph’s Campus, Lochinvar.
In a book yellowed by time, the story of their romance unfolds under Audrey’s pen.
“We had a chance meeting in Hunter Street, Newcastle. That night I went to the Palais, Don took Hughes-O and I home. The next Saturday after the dance, he took me home. That was the turning point in our lives,” Audrey wrote.
“The next day I went to the Royal Newcastle Aero Club with him. This was to be our usual haunt for years. We saw each other almost every night that it was humanly possible to do so.”
Don and Audrey’s engagement was announced at the aero club’s Christmas cabaret in 1959 and sealed with a diamond solitaire ring. They married in September the following year.
It was Don’s passion for planes and flying that shaped their lives.
When the Royal Newcastle Aero Club moved from Broadmeadow to Rutherford, Don and Audrey packed up their belongings and left Newcastle too, living briefly at Lorn before building their home as “pioneers” in the then new part of Rutherford.
Don worked at the aero club, flying charters, instructing and taking on the role of secretary- manager of its social club; and it was in this environment that the children were raised, Anthony playing in the hangars or the paddocks and Helen in the office.
In 1995, Don clocked up 50 years of flying – Tiger Moths, Cessnas, Beechcraft and DC3s.
Anthony’s and Helen’s memories of their parents are simple and endearing: Audrey baked biscuits, read to them and taught them etiquette; Don restored cars and loved nature. And Don taught Anthony how to fly.
Earlier this year, Don and Audrey’s health began to fail and their ride on the roundabout of hospitals – Maitland public, Maitland private and John Hunter – began.
Their final day together at their home in Rutherford was March 24.
In their dying days they would miss being together at Maitland Private by one day – Don being admitted the day after Audrey was transferred to John Hunter.
“Going together, on the same day, has been hard for us all,” Anthony said. “But for them it was the perfect ending to their love story.”
A service for Don and Audrey will be held at St Mary’s Anglican Church in Maitland today at 11.30am. A private burial will follow.