May Cropley, 71, refused further treatment and sang Amazing Grace before dying hours after her beloved husband John in a hospital where the couple with serious underlying conditions were being treated for Covid
A couple who had been married for 50 years have died of Covid within 12 hours in a row.
May Cropley, 71, refused further treatment after she saw her husband, 73, lose her battle with the virus.
Both had received two vaccines but had been screened for 18 months due to serious underlying health conditions.
The couple, from Auchtermuchty, Fife, Scotland, did business together and were devout Christians who served together in the ministry and had worked as missionaries all over the world.
Tragically, they caught Covid together and suffered together in their last days in a shared hospital room at Ninewell’s Hospital, Dundee.
When John died before May, she made the heartbreaking decision to refuse her own treatment.
May sang Amazing Grace before she too died – just 12 hours after her husband died.
Last week, they were laid to rest together.
The couple both had serious underlying health conditions.
May was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2009 and had an autoimmune condition called Goods Syndrome, which made her more vulnerable to disease.
May once wrote, “It may not have been what I would have chosen for my life, but wherever God’s will leads me, God’s grace will preserve me.”
John had a form of vasculitis that affected his lungs.
May’s cousin, Janet McKay, said: “They both had these underlying health conditions, but they remained so faithful.
“They never doubted and just kept going.
“John was still preaching until a few weeks ago.”
On his website, Fife Pulpit by the Sea, recordings of John’s sermons can be heard.
The last sermon was sent in July when the couple’s health problems worsened.
After being screened for more than a year, May her cousin’s 60th birthday.
“They don’t know how they caught it, but from the time it got really sick, it was only a matter of days,” Janet said.
“I had just seen May and we had talked on the phone. I knew they were feeling bad about it, but I was shocked to get the message to say they had gone to the hospital.
“May was fine when I last spoke to her, but then in the early hours of Tuesday, July 13, I got a text saying they had been taken to Ninewells.”
The couple was placed in a room together, and soon after, shocked friends and family were told that John’s condition had worsened and he was dead.
Janet said, “As I understand it, May refused the treatment. They called the hospital pastor, who knew them both, and when they sang Amazing Grace, she slipped away.
“I really can not believe it. Covid took John, and 12 hours later she went with him.”
John and May, who were celebrating their golden wedding earlier this year, were buried in Upper Largo Cemetery on a plot next to May’s older brother, Gordon.
Janet added, “I’m going to miss them both terribly. May was older than me, and that’s why I’ve known them both all my life. John was so funny. He had a bad sense of humor. And May was so kind.”
May had moved to Portsmouth as a teenager, where her father served as chaplain in the Royal Navy.
May met her future husband – who had joined the Navy at the age of 15 as a telegraph operator – when he was invited to live with her family because of her father’s work.
Janet said, “Uncle Tommy was known for always bringing people back to the house who needed help. John was one of them. A lost soul back then.”
John, originally from Lincolnshire, wrote of the time before he met his future wife: “I sailed around the world and spent most of my time drunk and doing the things sailors do. But during this time I had a deep feeling of wrong – a judgment. “
One night at HMS Mercury’s Signal School, a man spoke to him about God.
Little did he know that man would become his future father-in-law, and that a life of service also waved to him.
John and May were married in the spring of 1971.
On his website, May wrote: “I met John and we fell in love.
“I was so excited that I had met someone who loved the Lord as much as I did.
“We arranged our wedding in May 1971, but in late March of that year our GP told me that my mother would not reach it then. So after a call to my pastor and lots of phone calls to family and friends, we arranged our wedding on April 3, 1971. It lasted three weeks after that. “
Dealing with health issues would repeatedly be a feature of Cropley’s life.
But in their earlier years, the couple worked as missionaries, and John was ordained a priest.
In later years, they worked in a church in Sunderland before returning home to work for the Scottish Christian Alliance.
John was also chaplain of the Rosyth naval base for a time before returning to Fife to buy a house in Auchtermuchty and working to help the homeless in Glenrothes.
May led the Gilven House Project, now under the leadership of the Fife Council, and John was the Assistant Director of the Alliance.
“I had the pleasure of working with May as she was for many years the head of assisted living for young homeless women,” said John Mills, head of housing counseling at the Fife Council.
“She was committed and passionate in her support of the young residents and in ensuring that they could always move on to their own tenancy and benefit from education and training opportunities.
“She, with John’s strong support, went the extra mile to make a big difference for young people using Gilven House.”