A devoted couple died within hours of each other only days before they were due to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary.
Ian (90) and Celia (85) Christie of Laurieston had both been in hospital for several weeks before their deaths on October 31 in Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
This week their heartbroken daughters, Beth and June, said: “In death, as in life, they simply couldn’t bear to be apart.”
They had met in 1960 after some clever matchmaking by Ian’s Aunt Liz and were married the following year in Mauchline, where Celia had grown up.
She was the first girl from the Ayrshire town to go to university, gaining an MA in English at Glasgow.
She went on to teach in the village of Auchinleck in Ayrshire and for many years in the Falkirk area.
Her daughters said: “Mum reluctantly had to give up teaching in her late forties after developing a heart condition, but she continued to be an amazing mum to us and a devoted granny to Claire, Ross and Maddie – adored by everyone and always with a twinkle in her eye.”
Ian’s passion, aside from his beloved family, was always music. Taught the violin from the age of eight, it was when he was introduced to the piano at ten that he found his true calling.
When he was 15, his rector at Graeme High School received a call from band leader Joe Loss asking if Ian could be allowed off school to be his pianist while they performed at Falkirk Ice Rink as his main pianist was ill.
This was to be the start of an extraordinary musical career spanning six decades.
He started to play piano with the band at Doaks dance hall and continued his music while studying for his BSc in engineering at Glasgow University, only taking time out for his National Service.
After graduating, he got a job as a draughtsman at the ICI where he stayed until he took early retirement at 55.
In his thirties he started his own swing group, The Ian Christie trio and they came second in Scotland in the Melody Makers competition. For the next 25 years he spent most of his free time playing all over central Scotland – always with his trademark flask of tea and KitKat on top of the piano.
One of the great loves of his life was Falkirk Children’s and Youth Theatre – of which he was a founding member.
He also played piano for Falkirk Bohemians and Larbert Opera, as well as playing for Irene Langlands’ ballet classes.
His daughters said: “We are absolutely devastated by their passing and it is impossible to measure their influence on us and how much they will be missed, but we feel truly blessed to have had them in our lives for so long.”
Their funeral service takes place tomorrow (Friday) at 10am in Trinity Church followed by a committal at Grandsable Cemetery.