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Waterford husband dies just hours after his wife after 59 years of marriage

Waterford man Mattie Stafford died “of a broken heart” on Tuesday, just hours following his wife Bridie’s passing.

Image: Shutterstock/Myslitel

A COUPLE IN their 80s have died just hours apart in Waterford after 59 years of marriage.

Bridie Stafford (80) passed away after a long illness on Monday evening. Her husband Mattie (82) died of a heart attack just hours later on Tuesday morning.

The couple were very well-known in local circles as natives of the city. Mattie was heavily involved with local soccer and had only been elected chairman of the Waterford Junior League just five weeks ago.

DJ with local radio station WLR FM Matt Keane, who had known Mattie for many years, spoke to TheJournal.ie of his respect and admiration for the couple.

“They were very quiet, very private, but they were absolutely inseparable,” he said.

I have known Mattie all my life. They were very, very respected local figures.
It’s terribly sad but then they get to be buried together after living full lives, not all of us can say such a thing.

While Mattie had not been well recently his illness was not life-threatening according to Keane.

“It was a broken heart, no doubt about it,” he said.

Both Mattie and Bridie were Waterford born and bred. Married in 1957, they had a brief stint living in Galway (where Mattie worked as a plumber) before returning to the city of their birth in the early 1960s.

“Mattie was originally a cricket player, but he returned to Waterford in 1961 after a friend of his Gene Roche encouraged him to come home and referee the football,” said Keane.

He famously refereed a titanic match at Kilcohan Park (now a greyhound stadium) when 10,000 packed the rafters to see Waterford United beat Cork Hibernians.

The couple will be buried together following a Requiem Mass on Friday, 28 August at the Sacred Heart Church, The Folly, Waterford.

They are survived by five daughters and one son, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

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