Clyde and Catherine Grant still held hands after almost 60 years of marriage.
They were seated next to one another at the time of a crash that claimed both their lives Friday afternoon. The couple were on their way home from Portland when their car diverted from Interstate 95 and hit a tree, killing 78-year-old Clyde and 76-year-old Catherine.
Police suspect that Clyde may have suffered a medical problem while driving, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The Grants spent their entire life in Old Town. They went to Old Town High school together and were married Aug. 29, 1959, at Holy Family Catholic Church, although it was called St. Joseph’s at the time.
“They were each other’s best friend,” their son Joe Grant said.
The couple worked at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor together for 25 years. Clyde was the director for environmental services while Catherine took on different roles, serving in the outpatient unit before retiring more than 10 years ago.
Following their retirement, Clyde and Catherine pursued other ventures. Joe said his mother enjoyed her retirement and spent much of her time knitting. Every Tuesday, Catherine attended knitting club at Orono Public Library, and every Thursday, she made a trip to Old Town Public Library for the same thing.
“Last winter my mom had knitted a hundred pairs of mittens for kids,” Joe said. Catherine gave the mittens to her daughter, Sharon, to donate to a church in New Haven, Connecticut.
Clyde continued to work part time. For the past 13 years, he drove the shuttle vehicle for Quirk Auto Group in Bangor.
Joe Quirk, general manager of Quirk Auto Group, said that Clyde worked up until last week when he took time off to bring Catherine to Portland for back surgery.
“We’re heartbroken that this happened,” Quirk said.
Clyde was well-respected throughout the community and in all his professional endeavors, Joe said. Clyde graduated from Old Town High school and started out working as a general laborer for Old Town.
In addition to supervising the environmental services department at EMMC, Clyde worked at the University of Maine as a groundskeeper for 13 years. Joe said it was a good job for his father, who never attained a college degree.
Regardless of what they were doing for work to support their family, the Grants did it together.
“At the end of the day, it was always him and mom,” Joe said.
The family plans to hold a funeral for the Grants at Holy Family Catholic Church in Old Town, where they were married.