By Melissa Meehan
THEY came into the world together, and left the world on the same day.
Alice and Ruby Gibbon, 91, passed away on Sunday 10 January, just six and a half hours apart.
Born in Kooweerup on 2 June 1918, Alice and Ruby were described by niece Joy Townley as “chalk and cheese”, but the two were very close despite one living in the city and the other in the country.
“They were both very private people and while neither of them married they both had long-time partners,” Ms Townley, from Kooweerup, told the Gazette.
“Its just amazing to think they both entered and left the world together.”
Alice moved from Kooweerup to Leongatha when she was 28 and worked as a cook at the Kooweerup Hospital before securing a permanent position at the old Bush Nursing Hospital in Leongatha and continued on at the new hospital until the mid-1980s.
She passed away following a brief illness and complications from a leg infection.
Despite working in the hospital and residing at Koorooman House on hospital grounds, nurses were not aware Alice had a twin sister until a fortnight before she passed, according to her niece.
“It just proves what private people they were,” she said.
Ruby moved to Melbourne in her early twenties, where she worked in a well-known drapery store and at a dentist’s surgery.
She passed away six hours earlier than Alice at St Vincent’s Hospital, with similar complications from a leg infection.
Their niece said she was amazed that the two women had passed away on the same day with the same health problems, despite predicting something like that would happen weeks earlier.
“I said to my brother Peter, ‘don’t be surprised if they both leave this earth on the same day’,” she said.
“I didn’t believe in that kind of stuff then, but now I do.”
The women were farewelled in separate ceremonies, Alice at St Peters Anglican Church in Leongatha in front of 150 friends and family and Ruby in Melbourne.
“When we were considering the funeral arrangements we were asked whether we wanted to have a joint service,” she said.
“But we said definitely not.
“They were close, but they each had their separate lives and different friends.”
Ms Townley said neither woman was aware of the other’s ailing health, and Alice had not received news of Ruby’s death.
“I think they knew something though,” she said. “Just the day before they passed, Alice asked to be taken to see Ruby.”
Ruby and Alice were the twin daughters of Robert and Ruby Gibbon (both dec) of Kooweerup, sisters of Bob (dec) and sisters-in-law of Anne.
They were loving aunties of Peter, Joy and Lindsay and their families.
By Melissa Meehan