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97-Year-Old Twin Sisters Freeze to Death Together

Image: 97-Year-Old Twin Sisters Freeze to Death Together

The home of Jean Haley sits along the Providence River waterfront Monday, March 6, 2017, in Barrington, Rhode Island, where Haley and her twin 97-year-old sister Martha Williams froze to death Saturday after they fell and were stranded during one of the coldest nights of the winter. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 08:29 AM

Ninety-seven-year-old twin sisters Jean Young Haley and Martha Young Williams froze to death together after falling and becoming stranded outside Haley's home after an evening out over the weekend.

Police say they believe Williams fell as she walked to her car Friday evening, and Haley fell as she tried to get inside to call for help.

Williams' daughter, Susan, said Monday that she takes solace in knowing the twins entered and left life together, with one trying to save the other. She said it would have been incredibly hard for either sister to live without the other.

"It's powerful, it's astounding, it's stunning," she said. "And regardless of the pain we're all feeling, at least they're together."

A neighbor found the sisters Saturday morning. Overnight temperatures in the area had dropped to as low as 11 degrees, with wind chills as low as minus 8.

Though twins, the two women had quite different personalities, Susan Williams said. She described her mother as pure and innocent, while her aunt could be more mischievous and humorous. They were both fun-loving and enjoyed dining at local restaurants together, where everybody got to know them.

"The two of them together made a whole, complete person," she said. "They completed each other."

The night they fell, they had gone out for dinner.

The sisters often frequented Eats Restaurant in Seekonk, Massachusetts, owner George Mihailides recalled Monday.

Mihailides said seeing the sisters always made him smile. He often asked them about the secret to a long life and he thinks their upbeat attitude was key.

"They were extraordinary," he said. "A real class act."

Martha Williams spent more than half of her life in Barrington and had been living for about seven years with her daughter in the Rumford village of East Providence. Haley lived on the waterfront in Barrington for more than 60 years — just a 20-minute drive away from her twin.

Susan Williams said she was inspired by her mother's way of treating everyone with polite grace and respect and was inspired by her aunt's zest for life.

"They knew who they were and they wanted to be who they were, and they absolutely did," she said.

Haley's family released a statement Monday saying the twins had a "great passion for life and were an inspiration to us all. They lived their 97 years to the fullest with charm, grace, kindness and style and will be remembered with fondness by the many people whose lives they touched."

Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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Ninety-seven-year-old twin sisters Jean Young Haley and Martha Young Williams froze to death together after falling and becoming stranded outside Haley's home after an evening out over the weekend.
twin, sisters, freeze, die
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2017-29-07
Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 08:29 AM
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