Seldom is the word romantic persons used in response to the announcement of death, but such was the reaction to the news of the passing of Lansdell and Luella Potter a couple that was married for 56 years and died within days of each other.
The touching love story was summarized beautifully in the eulogy of Mr. Potter as it was said: “…Interestingly, though their marriage vows also included, ‘until death do us part’, it appears as if not even the grave was strong enough to separate them.”
Mr. Eric Lansdell Potter also known as Lansie was born on the 12th day of May, 1937 to Captain Dennis Potter and Eva Frett Potter. He grew up in the Greenland community. While Mrs. Luella Potter nee Smith was born on Salt Island on June 21st, 1937. She was the second child of Gerald Smith of Peter Island and Clementine Leonard Smith of Salt Island.
The union of “Lansie and Lue” was a love story that was beautifully recounted at the packed funeral ceremony was held on 24 March, and is no doubt a testimony that would be always recounted here in the British Virgin Islands.
It was recalled that Lansie and Luella met in the early 1960s, when she was living with Maria Wheatley and her mother, Rebekkah. “These ladies ran a small shop from their home, and it was in this shop that Luella most often found herself tending to customers. It seems as if Lansie had been eyeing Luella for some time, and made it his business one evening to come in to the shop to buy sugar. He came back the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that one, for more sugar. Lue thought that the man had a rather insatiable sweet tooth. But he gave lie to that fact when, upon their marriage, she came to realize that he hardly ever used sugar! Well, it was just God helping him in his search for a life mate,” the eulogist stated.
Following their marriage on 9th August, 1962, the couple is said to have done everything together and Luella was described as embodying the term ‘the woman behind the man’. It was said that their children can attest to their closeness as husband and wife, and their strong bond as friends, always looking after one another.
The Potters were a tight knit family as Lansdell supported Lue in daily devotions and Bible readings with the children to build a strong foundation. They worked together to build their homes and other properties. Lue was said to have supplemented the family’s income by taking in washing and ironing, ‘plaiting bottles’, even working alongside Lansie as a domestic worker when he was affiliated with Indigo Development Corp, in addition to her regular employment.
Together they helped each other make it through the passing of two of their children, baby Cardy in the early 1960s, and Candace in 2003. And even when Alzheimer’s, that dreaded disease, slowly stole her memories, his name was said to be virtually the last one she forgot.
“We would never attempt to imply that they had a perfect union, but they were perfect for each other. In spite of the physical assets they were able to attain on this earth, they both held fast to Jesus and to each other. When her health began to deteriorate, Lansie was the one to look after her, until he too began ailing… He was quoted to have said on a few occasions that he wanted her to be the one to go first. Those who heard seemed to misunderstand his meaning, but his children understood. He meant he didn’t want to leave Lue alone, even in her children’s tender care, to deal with her increasing challenges,” the eulogy further noted.
Nonetheless, in chronicling the final days of this more than five decade love story the eulogist said: “Her care was his responsibility, so seriously did he take his vows, ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health’”.
“That’s why after she passed around noon on Sunday February 18th, they could see his visible withdrawal and gradual decline, and were not surprised or overly saddened. Lansdell should have been able to rebound and leave Peebles Hospital, had his mind been focused on recovery. But his will to continue life just seemed to ebb away after he learnt that his wife of 56 years had left this world…And, so Lansdell joined Lue in death 8 days later on February 26th, a little past the noon day hour. It was a Monday. What a beautiful love story, which has brought peace and contentment to their children, knowing that he is no longer suffering. Though the tears may be falling now, Sunny, Bunny, Adrian, Sandra, Ron, Zane and Deseree and all the grandchildren are comforted in knowing that he truly ‘followed his heart’,” the eulogy added.
The publishers, management and staff of The Island Sun newspaper extend deeply felt condolences to the family and friends of the late Lansdell and Luella Potter.